the soil chemical fertility is a key prerequisite to sustain crop
productivity in the tropics. Several studies perceive that soil fertility
decline is widely spread in tropical regions and that it is caused by
inadequate nutrient replenishment and high losses as compared to natural
ecosystems. Although this has been recognised for many decades, there is a
need for hard data on soil changes and nutrient management strategies in
order to improve our understanding of agricultural systems and to design
sustainable cropping systems. In
most studies, nutrient balances were used as a tool to evaluate soil and
crop management practices and the sustainability of the land-use systems.
Moreover, the focus of most studies has been on low-external input
agriculture of subsistence farmers.
book differs in two important ways from other studies on soil fertility
decline: (i) the assessment of soil fertility decline is based on soil
chemical data, and (ii) it
focuses on plantation crops,
which have been largely neglected in the discussion on soil fertility
decline and sustainable land management.
Plantation agriculture is
an important form of land-use in the tropics and in many countries the
area has expanded rapidly in the past decades. The book is partly based on
my experiences in different parts of the world, click
and main conclusion
quantitative approach has been taken combining published data on soil
fertility decline with detailed case studies on-plantations. In the case
studies, existing soil
chemical data were used to select new sampling sites and to determine
whether soil chemical properties had changed.
The data were used to calculate rates of change in soil chemical
properties and to compare annual and various perennial cropping systems. As
plantation agriculture is
a major contributor to the income of many countries and provides hundreds
of thousands of people with labour and income, it is crucial that the soil
resource base of agricultural plantations is sustained. Within
the limitations of the data, substantial evidence is provided that soil
fertility decline occurs in agricultural plantations, which affects crop
productivity if such trends were to continue.
whom is this book of interest
book will appeal to those who work on soil fertility in tropical regions
and on plantation agriculture but given the breadth of subjects treated in
the book it is also of interest to agronomists and foresters – both
students and professional. The book contains several overviews of
historical developments on our knowledge of soil fertility in the
tropics and has detailed information on the assessment of soil fertility
decline. Crops treated include sugarcane, maize, cocoa,
rubber, oilpalm, sisal and many others. For further information see the
PDFs of the Table of Contents, Preface and Foreword:
Further details about
the book on the CABI website:
author should be commended for assembling valuable data and by setting up
a strong theoretical conceptual framework...very important reading for
tropical soil scientists."
Pedro Sanchez in Geoderma
contains a wealth of information. The book is comprehensive and
convincing, and it adds much value to what is already in the literature.
It is not a set of papers but one story, with a consistent storyline
embedded in a relevant historical context, written in a witty and at times
Eric Smaling in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
gives an excellent overview of what we do know and what we do not know and
develops well-founded recommendations about improving research procedures.
The many useful considerations about soil fertility dynamics in the
tropics and several valuable and previously not widely distributed data
sets and the
data compilations make this volume an interesting supplement to any
library on soil management in the tropics."
Johannes Lehmann in The Quarterly Review of Biology
book is extremely rich in information and extensive references. An
original contribution is the historical view taken, with several analyses
going back to the beginning of the last century. The book is recommended
reading for anyone interested in nutrient balances, soil fertility and
Freddy Nachtergaele and Parviz Koohafkan in WASWC
"...this reviewer finds
major value in this book for all who are interested in tropical soils.
Reviews of literature and data sets for each chapter are extensive and
unbiased. The methods discussed and devised bring the evaluation of
tropical soil fertility to the state of the art. Readers of this book
will better understand the importance of changes in soil fertility as
they relate to sustainability of plantation agriculture. They also
should be much better prepared to conduct or support research in
tropical soil fertility."
Gary J. Gascho in Soil Science
is impressive; the collection of information and the analysis of elusive
trends within land uses and soil types make the book one of the most
comprehensive efforts of this type.
If we truly want to
estimate future trends of soil fertility in a changing climate and take
advantage of rapidly increasing modeling and spatial analytical
capabilities, more attention needs to be focused on the tropics. This
book is a useful step in that direction."
J.P. Lynch and R.E. Jaramillo in Field Crops Research
Soil fertility decline in the tropics with case studies on
plantations. ISRIC-CABI, Wallingford. Hardbound, 360 pp. ISBN
0851996701. Price: £65
3 ways to order the
has a limited number of copies for sale at only $60,
click here to
Members of the
International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) can order the book for £52. E-mail
the book on-line from one of the following booksellers (click logo):