Strategy for Evaluating Soil Health Measurements #soilhealth
How can this strategy for evaluating soil health encourage the use of biochar? Will it show improvements (or losses) from biochar application?
Soil Health Institute Publishes Strategy for Evaluating Soil Health Measurements
The first of many publications associated with the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements (NAPESHM) has been published open source in Agronomy Journal.
“Introducing the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements” describes the rationale, approach, and methods used in this continental-scale, collaborative soil health research project conducted by SHI. The paper documents the core strategic design, soil health measurements being evaluated, methods used, and sites participating in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
The overall goal of the project is to identify the most effective measures of soil health across a wide range of climates, production systems, management practices, and inherent soil properties. The paper also provides other researchers and stakeholders a clear roadmap for obtaining results relevant to the database being developed and offers a reference for protocols used by SHI.
The paper was co-authored by Charlotte E. Norris, G. Mac Bean, Shannon B. Cappellazzi, Michael Cope, Kelsey L.H. Greub, Daniel Liptzin, Elizabeth L. Rieke, Paul W. Tracy, Cristine L.S. Morgan, and C. Wayne Honeycutt.
SHI would like to thank the NAPESHM Scientists for spearheading the effort, as well as more than 80 Partnering Scientists from across academia, federal agencies, and the private sector who are making this project possible. SHI also thanks the project’s funders: The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and General Mills, for their generosity.
Future papers will describe the results of SHI’s evaluation of approximately 30 soil health indicators across North America.
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Unless I missed it.......
It is curious that they are not surveying what other wee beasties are in the soil besides microbes, as well as, what indigenous plants ( weeds) are growing in the soil.
Do you know if any of the soil sites contain pyrogenic carbon in the soil horizon.......?
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All good questions. I don’t think the specific microbes, weeds and pyrogenic carbon are on their radar. (If you go below the plow layer on some of our Willamette valley soils you will find carbon from 40 years of open field burning to remove straw. Other areas may be similar.)
“NRCS and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) led a diverse coalition of technical experts in selecting methods to assess six standard soil health indicators, which focus on key physical and biological processes that must function well in healthy soils. Those indicators are:
· organic matter recycling and carbon sequestration,
· soil structure stability,
· general microbial activity,
· carbon food source, (total carbon and reactive carbon)
· bioavailable nitrogen, and
· microbial community diversity.”
See Soil Health Technical Note No. 450-03 Recommended Soil Health Indicators and Associated Laboratory Procedures
Soil Health Technical Note No. 450-04 The Basics of Addressing Resource Concerns with Conservation Practices within Integrated Soil Health Management Systems on Cropland
The new NRCS Soil Carbon Standard 808 practice will check boxes addressed in the note 450-04 We understand that Hawaii and the Pacific, Oregon and one other state have the new practice 808 primed for use. Other states which have shown interest include VT, M, CT, NJ, DE, NY, CA, CA Which will probably adopt it for FY 2021.
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Subject: Re: [Biochar] Strategy for Evaluating Soil Health Measurements