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Conservation Agriculture: Perspectives on Soil and Environmental Management in Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia

  • Rakesh Kumar
  • Kirti Saurabh
  • Narendra Kumawat
  • J. S. Mishra
  • Hansraj Hans
  • Bal Krishna
  • Ram Swaroop Meena
  • Bal Krishna Jha
  • Pravin Kumar Upadhyay
  • K. K. Hazra
Chapter

Abstract

Bread and rice basket of South Asia is feeding ~20% of the global population. The agricultural production system in South Asia is predominated by exhaustive cereal production system including rice, wheat, and maize. Thus, it greatly affects the livelihood and nutritional security of the rural and urban poor. Recently, cereal productivity had slowed down or stagnated. Present expansion rate in terms of yield of rice and wheat is ~2–3 times higher than in 1966–1994. During 1980s, the peak of “Green Revolution” in the agricultural production system helps in the reduction of rural and urban poverty by making food more affordable. During the 1990s, growth in yields slows down because of technological stagnation resulting in high food prices. Slow growth in yields mainly inflated on wheat and rice by ~1%. Therefore, agriculture in South Asia is presently in front of a major challenge of resource fatigue and declining crop productivity. In addition to that, a huge gap exists in yields mainly due to yield gap management, ranging from 14–47, 18–70, and 36–77% in wheat, rice, and maize, respectively. Crop residues are considered a vital natural resource for protecting and sustaining soil and crop productivity. Application of crop residues is useful for maintaining or enhancing soil organic matter (SOM). This chapter presents the perspectives on soil and environment through principles of conservation agriculture (CA) for sustainable cereal production system in Indo-Gangetic belts of South Asia.

Keywords

Carbon sequestration Conservation agriculture Crop rotation Crop residue Greenhouse gases In situ mulching South Asia Water productivity 

Abbreviations

BNF

Biological N fixation

CA

Conservation agriculture

CEC

Cation exchange capacity

CGIAR

Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres

CIRAD

French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development

CRM

Crop residue management

CRR

Crop residue retention

CRs

Crop residues

DAP

Di-ammonium phosphate

DSR

Direct seeded rice

ET

Evapotranspiration

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization

FUE

Fertilizer use efficiency

FYM

Farm yard manures

GHGs

Greenhouse gases

GIZ

German Agency for International Cooperation

HYVs

High-yielding varieties

IGPs

Indo-Gangetic plains

IPM

Integrated pest management

IWM

Integrated weed management

NARS

National Agricultural Research System

NGO

Non-governmental organization

NT

No-tillage

NUE

Nutrient use efficiency

OM

Organic matter

RCTs

Resource conservation technologies

RWCS

Rice-wheat cropping system

SMB

Soil microbial biomass

SOC

Soil organic carbon

SOM

Soil organic matter

TOC

Total organic carbon

VAM

Vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae

WUE

Water use efficiency

ZT

Zero tillage

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rakesh Kumar
    • 1
  • Kirti Saurabh
    • 1
  • Narendra Kumawat
    • 2
  • J. S. Mishra
    • 1
  • Hansraj Hans
    • 1
  • Bal Krishna
    • 3
  • Ram Swaroop Meena
    • 4
  • Bal Krishna Jha
    • 5
  • Pravin Kumar Upadhyay
    • 6
  • K. K. Hazra
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Crop ResearchICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region PatnaPatnaIndia
  2. 2.AICRP on Management of Salt Affected Soils and Use of Saline Water in AgricultureIndoreIndia
  3. 3.Bihar Agricultural UniversitySabour, BhagalpurIndia
  4. 4.Department of AgronomyInstitute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  5. 5.ICAR-Research Complex for Eastern RegionRegional Centre PlanduRanchiIndia
  6. 6.Division of AgronomyICAR Indian Institutes of Agricultural ResearchNew DelhiIndia
  7. 7.Division of Crop ProductionICAR- Indian Institute of Pulses ResearchKanpurIndia

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