Soil Management for Better Crop Production and Sustainable Agriculture

  • Niaz Ahmed
  • Sajid Masood
  • Shakeel AhmadEmail author
  • Safdar Bashir
  • Sajjad Hussain
  • Waseem Hassan
  • Rafiq Islam Khandekar
  • Baqir Hussain
  • Muhammad Arif AliEmail author


Sustainable agriculture is of prime importance in the present conditions of rapidly increasing human population and decreasing cultivable land resources. Since soil is a natural medium for the growth of plants, a better soil health is considered as an important indicator to produce quality food. Soil quality is greatly affected by the presence of soluble salts, heavy metals and toxic compounds. In addition, soil loss by erosion, compaction, waterlogging, toxicity or deficiency of certain mineral elements and poor tillage practices lessens the area for crop production. Therefore, conservation and management of soil is crucial to augment crop production and ensure world’s food requirement. Efforts have been done to summarize all the soil problems which degrade soil quality and thus suggesting control measures and modern approaches of soil management for sustainable agriculture.


Soil health Soil loss Soil conservation Sustainable agriculture 


  1. Abdelhafez AA, Awad YM, Kim MS, Ham KJ, Lim KJ, Joo JH, Yang JE, Ok YS (2009) Environmental monitoring of heavy metals and arsenic in soils adjacent to CCA-treated wood structures in Gangwon Province, South Korea. Korean J Environ Agric 28:340–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abeledo LG, Savin R, Slafer GA (2008) Wheat productivity in the Mediterranean Ebro Valley: analyzing the gap between attainable and potential yield with a simulation model. Eur J Agron 28(4):541–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abhilash P, Powell JR, Singh HB, Singh BK (2012) Plant–microbe interactions: novel applications for exploitation in multipurpose remediation technologies. Trends Biotechnol 30:416–420PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ahemad M (2012) Implications of bacterial resistance against heavy metals in bioremediation: a review. J Inst Integ Omics Appl Biotechnol 3(3):39–46Google Scholar
  5. Ahemad M (2015) Enhancing phytoremediation of chromium-stressed soils through plant-growth-promoting bacteria. J Genet Eng Biotechnol 13:51–58PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ahmad NC, Chaudery MR (1997) Review of research on reclamation of salt-affected soils in Pakistan. Publication No. 175, IWASRI, WAPDA, LahoreGoogle Scholar
  7. Aoyama M, Angers DA, N’Dayegamiye A (1999) Particulate and mineral-associated organic matter in water-stable aggregates as affected by mineral fertilizer and manure applications. Can J Soil Sci 79:295–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bai ZG, Dent DL, Olssom L, Schaepman ME (2008) Proxy global assessment of land degradation. Soil Use Manag 24:2223–2450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baig MB, Zia SM (2006) Rehabilitation of problem soils through environmental friendly technologies –ii: role of sesbania (Sesbania aculata) and gypsum. Agric Trop Subtrop 39:26–33Google Scholar
  10. Bauer A, Black AL (1992) Organic carbon effects on available water capacity of three soil textural groups. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:248–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bell PF, McLaughlin M, Cozens G, Stevens D, Owens G, South H (2003) Plant uptake of 14C-EDTA, 14C-Citrate, and 14C-Histidine from chelator-buffered and conventional hydroponic solutions. Plant Soil 253:311–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bennett EM, Carpenter SR, Caraco NF (2001) Human impact on erodable phosphorus and eutrophication: a global perspective increasing accumulation of phosphorus in soil threatens rivers, lakes, and coastal oceans with eutrophication. BioScience 51:227–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Blanco H, Lal R (2008) Soil and water conservation. In: Principles of soil conservation and management. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  14. Bockman OC, Kaarstad O, Lie OH, Richards I (1990) Agriculture and fertilizers. Agricultural Group, Norsk Hydro, OsloGoogle Scholar
  15. Borlaug NE, Dowswell CR (2005) Feeding a world of 10 billion people: a 21st century challenge. In: Tuberosa R, Phillips RL, Gale M (eds) In the wake of the double helix: from green revolution to the gene revolution, Proceedings Congress, 27–31, May 2003, Bologna, Italy, pp 3–23Google Scholar
  16. Botta G, Pozzolo O, Bomben M, Rosatto H, Rivero D, Ressia M, Tourn M, Soza E, Va’zquez J (2007) Traffic alternatives in harvest of soybean (Glycine max L.): effect on yields and soil under direct sowing system. Soil Tillage Res 96:145–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brady NC, Weil RR (2002) The nature and properties of soils, 13th edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  18. Bronick CJ, Lal L (1995) Soil structure and management: a review. Geoderma 124:3–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Bronson KF, Zobeck TM, Chua TT, Acosta-Martinez V, Pelt RSV, Booker JD (2004) Carbon and nitrogen pools of southern high plains cropland and grassland soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 68:1695–1704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cambardella CA, Elliott ET (1993) Carbon and nitrogen distribution in aggregates from cultivated and native grassland soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:1071–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Carter MR, Stewart BA (1996) Structure and organic matter storage in agriculture soils. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  22. Chaney RL, Malik M, Li YM, Brown SL, Brewer EP, Angle JS, Baker AJ (1997) Phytoremediation of soil metals. Curr Opin Biotechnol 8:279–284PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dexter AR (2004) Soil physical quality. Effects of soil texture, density, and organic matter, and effects on root growth, Part I. Theory. Geoderma 120:201–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dinnes DL, Karlen DL, Jaynes DB, Kaspar TC, Hatfield JL, Colvin TS, Cambardella CA (2002) Nitrogen management strategies to reducenitrate leaching in tile-drained midwestern soils. Agron J 94:153–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Donald CM, Prescott JA (1975) Trace elements in Australian crop and pasture production. In: Nicholas DJD, Egan AR (eds) Trace elements in soil–plant–animal system. Academic, Sydney, pp 7–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Doran JW (2002) Soil health and global sustainability: translating science into practice. Agric Ecosyst Environ 88:119–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Elbagermi MA, Edwards HGM, Alajtal AI (2013) Monitoring of heavy metals content in soil collected from city centre and industrial areas of Misurata, Libya. Int J Anal Chem 2013:312581. Scholar
  28. Else MA, Coupland D, Dutton L, Jackson MB (2001) Decreased root hydraulic conductivity reduces leaf water potential, initiates stomatal closure and slows leaf expansion in flooded plants of castor oil (Riccinus communis) despite diminished delivery of ABA from the roots to shoots in the xylemsap. Physiol Plant 111:46–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. EPA (2007) Treatment technologies for site cleanup: annual status report (ASR,)(EPA-542-R-07-012). EPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  30. Erdei L, Mezôsi G, Mécs I, Vass I, Fôglein F, Bulik L (2005) Phytoremediation as a program for decontamination of heavy-metal polluted environment. Acta Biol Szegediensis 49:75–76Google Scholar
  31. Fageria NK (2007) Green manuring in crop production. J Plant Nutr 30:691–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fageria NK (2012) Role of soil organic matter in maintaining sustainability of cropping systems. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 43:2063–2113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fageria N, Baligar V, Bailey B (2005) Role of cover crops in improving soil and row crop productivity. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 36(19–20):2733–2757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. FAO (1999) Integrated soil management for sustainable agriculture and food security in Southern and East Africa. In: Proceedings of the expert consultation, Harare, Zimbabwe, 8–12 December 1999Google Scholar
  35. FAO (2016) Soil fertility. Retrieved 18 June 2016
  36. Fischer G, Teixeira E, Tothne-Hizsnyik E, van Velthuizen H (2009) Land use dynamics and sugarcane production. In: Zuurbier P, van de Vooren J (eds) Sugarcane ethanol, contributions to climate change mitigation and the environment. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen. ISBN: 978-90-8686-090-6. Also available as IIASA RP-09-001, IIASA, Laxenburg, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  37. Gambrell RP, Patrick WH (1978) Chemical and microbiological properties of anaerobic soils and sediments. In: Plant life in anaerobic environments. Ann Arbor Science Publishers, Inc., Ann Arbor, pp 375–423Google Scholar
  38. Ghafoor A, Qadir M, Murtaza G (2004) Salt-affected soils. Principles of management, 1st edn. Allied Book Centre, LahoreGoogle Scholar
  39. Goh KH, Lim TT (2005) Arsenic fractionation in a fine soil fraction and influence of various anions on its mobility in the subsurface environment. Appl Geochem 20:229–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hashim M, Mukhopadhyay S, Sahu JN, Sengupta B (2011) Remediation technologies for heavy metal contaminated groundwater. J Environ Manag 92:2355–2388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hasina G, Said A, Saeed B, Mohammad F, Ahmad I (2011) Effect of foliar application of nitrogen, potassium and zinc on wheat growth. ARPN J Agric Biol Sci 6:56–58Google Scholar
  42. Huang S-H, Bing P, Yang Z-H, Chai L-Y, Zhou L-C (2009) Chromium accumulation, microorganism population and enzyme activities in soils around chromium-containing slag heap of steal alloy factory. Trans Nonferrous Metals Soc China 19(1:241–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hue NV (2013) Arsenic chemistry and remediation in Hawaiian soils. Int J Phytoremed 15:105–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hussain T (1996) Manures and organic wastes organic matter. In: Rashid A, Memon QS (eds) Soil science. National Book Foundation, Islamabad, pp 483–404Google Scholar
  45. Ingham ER (2006) Understanding the soil foodweb – first of twelve sub points.
  46. IPCC (2007) Summary for policy makers. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis: contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  47. Jacobs A, Rauber R, Ludwig B (2009) Impact of reduced tillage on carbon and nitrogen storage of two Haplic Luvisols after 40 years. Soil Tillage Res 102:158–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kasel K, Bennett LT (2007) Land-use history, forest conversion, and soil organic carbon in pine plantations and native forests of south eastern Australia. Geoderma 137:401–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Khan S, Hesham AE-L, Qiao M, Rehman S, He J-Z (2010) Effects of Cd and Pb on soil microbial community structure and activities. Environ Sci Pollut Res 17:288–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kumar S, Kadono A, Lal R, Dick W (2012b) Long–term no–till impacts on organic carbon and properties of two contrasting soils and corn yields in Ohio. Soil Sci Soc Am J 76:1798–1809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kumar S, Kadono A, Lal R, Dick W (2012c) Long–term tillage and crop rotations for 47–49 years influences hydrological properties of two soils in Ohio. Soil Sci Soc Am J 76:2195–2207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lal R (1995) Tillage systems in the tropics, management options and sustainability implications. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  53. Lal R (1997) Long-term tillage and maize monoculture effects on a tropical Alfisol in western Nigeria. I. Crop yield and soil physical properties. Soil Tillage Res 42(3):145–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lal R (2001) Soil degradation by erosion. Land Degrad Dev 12:519–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lal R (2004) Soil carbon sequestration impacts on global climate change and food security. Science 304(5677):1623–1627PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lal R, Safriel U, Boer B (2012) Zero net land degradation. Rio+20 convention, UNCCD, Bonn, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  57. Ma LQ, Komar KM, Tu C, Zhang W, Cai Y, Kennelly ED (2001) A fern that hyperaccumulate arsenic. Nature 409:579PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Macek T, Kotrba P, Svatos A, Novakova M, Demnerova K, Mackova M (2008) Novel roles for genetically modified plants in environmental protection. Trends Biotechnol 26:146–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Materechera SA (2009) Tillage and tractor traffic effects on soil compaction in horticultural fields used for periurban agriculture in a semi-arid environment of the North West Province, South. Soil Tillage Res 103(1):11–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Miao Y, Stewart B, Zhang F (2011) Long-term experiments for sustainable nutrient in China. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 31:397–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mikha MM, Rice CW (2004) Tillage and manure effects on soil and aggregate associated carbon and nitrogen. Soil Sci Soc Am J 68:809–816CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mohanty HK, Khush GS (1985) Diallel analysis of submergence tolerance in rice, Oryza sativa L. Theor Appl Genet 70:467–473PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Moheyuddin K, Salahuddin J, Mari H, Panhwar RN (2013) Effect of zinc and boron fertilizers application on some physicochemical attributes of five rice varieties grown in agro ecosystem of Sindh, Pakistan. Am Eurasian J Agric Environ Sci 13:433–439Google Scholar
  64. Mortvedt JJ, Cox FR, Shuman LM, Welch RM (1991) In: Mortvedt JJ, Cox FR, Shuman LM, Welch RM (eds) Micronutrients in agriculture, 2nd edn. Soil Science Society of America, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  65. Mueller L, Schindler Mirschel U (2010) Assessing the productivity function of soils. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 30:601–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Muhammad S (1996) Soil salinity, sodicity and water logging. In: Rashid A, Memon KS (eds) Soil Sci. National Book Foundation, Islamabad, pp 472–506Google Scholar
  67. Niaz A, Hannan A, Waqas M (2007) Boron status of soils as affected by different soil characteristics–pH, CaCO3, organic matter and clay contents. Pak J Agric Sci 44:428–435Google Scholar
  68. Nriagu J, Bhattacharya P, Mukherjee A, Bundschuh J, Zevenhoven R, Loeppert R (2007) Arsenic in soil and groundwater: an overview. Trace Met Contam Environ 9:3–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Oldeman LR, Hakkeling RTA, Sombroek WG (1991) Second revised edition. In: World map of the status of human-induced soil degradation. An explanatory note. International Soil Reference and Information Center, Wageningen, p 35Google Scholar
  70. Padmavathiamma PK, Li LY (2007) Phytoremediation technology: hyper-accumulation metals in plants. Water Air Soil Pollut 184:105–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Prabhavathi P, Rajendran R, Karthiksundaram S, Pattabi S, Kumar SD, Santhanam P (2014) Enhanced bioremediation efficiency of denim industrial effluent using bacterial biofilm onto polyurethane matrix (review). Appl Biochem Microbiol 50:554–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Raghavan GSV, Alvo P, McKyes E (1992) Soil compaction in agriculture: a view towards managing the problem. Adv Soil Sci 11:1–35Google Scholar
  73. Robson MC, Fowler SM, Lampkin NH, Leifert C, Leitch M, Robinson D, Watson CA, Litterick AM (2002) The agronomic and economic potential of break crops for ley/arable. Rotations in temperate organic agriculture. Adv Agron 77:369–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rockström J, Falkenmark M (2000) Semiarid crop production from a hydrological perspective: gap between potential and actual yields. Plant Sci 19(4):319–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Rowell DL (1994) The preparation of saturation extracts and the analysis of soil salinity and sodicity. In: Rowell DL (ed) Soil science methods and applications. Longman Group, HarlowGoogle Scholar
  76. Salido AL, Hasty KL, Lim JM, Butcher DJ (2003) Phytoremediation of arsenic and lead in contaminated soil using Chinese brake ferns (Pteris vittata) and Indian mustard (Brassica juncea). Int J Phytoremediation 5:89–103PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Samdani Z (1995) Salinization threatens irrigation. In: Economic and business review. Daily Dawn, Karachi. III (3-9/06/1995)Google Scholar
  78. Sarma PK, Hazarika M, Sarma D, Saikia P, Neog P, Rajbongshi R, Kakati N, Bhattacharjee M, Rao CS (2015) Effect of foliar application of potassium on yield, drought tolerance and rain water use efficiency of toria under rainfed upland situation of Assam. Indian J Dryland Agric Res Dev 30:55–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sheoran V, Sheoran A, Poonia P (2010) Role of hyperaccumulators in phytoextraction of metals from contaminated mining sites: a review. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 41:168–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Singh Y, Singh B, Ladha JK, Khind CS, Gupta RK, Meelu OP, Pasuquin E (2004) Long–term effects of organic inputs on yield and soil fertility in the rice–wheat rotation. Soil Sci Soc Am J 68:845–853Google Scholar
  81. Singh A (2014) Soil salinization and waterlogging: a threat to environment and agriculture sustainability. Ecol Indic 57:128–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sinha RK, Herat S, Tandon P (2007) Phytoremediation: role of plants in contaminated site management. In: Environmental Bioremediation Technologies. Springer, Berlin, pp 315–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Smith CW, Johnston MA, Lorentz S (1997) Assessing the compaction susceptibility of South African forestry soils. I. The effect of soil type, water content and applied pressure on uni-axial compaction. Soil Tillage Res 41:53–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Soil Science Society of America (2006) Internet glossary of soil science terms. Available at Accessed 21 Oct 2006.
  85. Sönmez İ, Kaplan M, Sönmez S (2008) Kimyasal gübrelerin çevre kirliliği üzerine etkileri ve çözüm önerileri. Batı Akdeniz Tarımsal Araştırma Enstitüsü Derim Derg 25(2):24–34Google Scholar
  86. Spargo JT, Alley MM, Follett RF, Wallace JV (2008) Soil nitrogen conservation with continuous no-till management. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 82:283–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Stevenson FJ (1991) Organic matter–micronutrient reactions in soil. In: Mortvedt RR (ed) Micronutrients in agriculture, 2nd edn. SSSA, Madison, pp 145–186Google Scholar
  88. Tangahu BV, Abdullah SR, Basri H, Idris M, Anuar N, Mukhlisin M (2011) A review on heavy metals (As, Pb, and Hg) uptake by plants through phytoremediation. Int J Chem Eng 2011:1–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Tanji KK (1990) Nature and extent of agricultural salinity. In: Tanji KK (ed) Agricultural salinity assessment and management, Manuals and reports on engineering practices no. 71. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, pp 1–17Google Scholar
  90. Tu C, Ma LQ (2003) Effects of arsenate and phosphate on their accumulation by anarsenic-hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata L. Plant Soil 249:373–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. US Salinity Laboratory Staff (1954) Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils, USDA Handbook No. 60. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  92. Vangronsveld J, Herzig R, Weyens N, Boulet J, Adriaensen K, Ruttens A, Nehnevajova E (2009) Phytoremediation of contaminated soils and groundwater: lessons from the field. Environ Sci Pollut Res 16:765–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, Melillo JM (2008) Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. In: Urban ecology: an international perspective on the interaction between humans and nature. Springer, Boston, pp 3–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wang J, Wu FQ, Meng QQ (2004) Benefits of tillage measures for soil and water conservation [J]. Bull Soiland Water Conserv 5:009Google Scholar
  95. Wilhelm WW, Johnson JMF, Hatfield JL, Voorhees WB, Linden DR (2004) Crop and soil productivity response to corn residue removal: a literature review. Agron J 96:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Wolkowski L, Lowery B (2008) Soil compaction: causes, concerns and cures. University of Winscosin, Madison. Available at Accessed 15 July 2014
  97. Wu L, Luo Y, Xing X, Christie P (2004) EDTA-enhanced phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soil with Indian mustard and associated potential leaching risk. Agric Ecosyst Environ 102:307–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Wuana RA, Okieimen FE (2011) Heavy metals in contaminated soils: a review of sources, chemistry, risks and best available strategies for remediation. ISRN Ecol 2011:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Zhuang P, Yang Q, Wang H, Shu W (2007) Phytoextraction of heavy metals by eight plant species in the field. Water Air Soil Pollut 184:235–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Zia-ur-rehman M, Murtaza G, Qayyum F, Saqib M, Akhtar J (2017) Salt-affected soils: sources, genesis and management. In: Sabir M, Akhtar J, Hakeem KR (eds) Soil science concepts and applications. University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad, pp 191–216Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niaz Ahmed
    • 1
  • Sajid Masood
    • 1
  • Shakeel Ahmad
    • 2
    Email author
  • Safdar Bashir
    • 3
  • Sajjad Hussain
    • 4
  • Waseem Hassan
    • 5
  • Rafiq Islam Khandekar
    • 6
  • Baqir Hussain
    • 5
  • Muhammad Arif Ali
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agricultural Science and TechnologyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  3. 3.University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Sub-campus DepalpurOkaraPakistan
  4. 4.Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Agricultural Science and TechnologyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  5. 5.Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesMNS University of AgricultureMultanPakistan
  6. 6.College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityPiketonUSA

Personalised recommendations