Soils, Ecosystem Processes, and Agricultural Development

Soils, Ecosystem Processes, and Agricultural Development


Shinya Funakawa (ed.)
舟川晋也(地球環境学堂 / 編集), 渡邉哲弘(地球環境学堂 / 分担執筆)


The main objective of this book is to integrate environmental knowledge observed in local agriculture, based on the understanding of soils science and ecology, and to propose possible technical solutions and a more integrated approach to tropical agriculture. The chapters describe and analyze the ecological and technical countermeasures available for mitigating environmental degradation due to the increasing agricultural activities by humans, based on our scientific understanding of traditional agriculture in the tropics. This is an effective approach, as such ecological and technical tools previously involved in traditional activities are expected to be easily incorporated into present agricultural systems. The book starts with a rather classical pedological issue and analyzed traditional agricultural practices with different resource management strategies in terms of their modification of natural biological processes. It focuses on the present situation of tropical agriculture; that is, resource utilization in modern agriculture after application of technical innovation (increased application of chemical fertilizers as well as agricultural chemicals). Here, possible technical approaches to resource management that reasonably support agricultural production whilst mitigating environmental degradation are discussed. The negative impacts of agricultural development on our environment are rapidly growing, yet we are increasingly dependent on the agricultural sector for food and energy. The situation is similar in the tropics, where subsistence agriculture with low input management has long comprised most agricultural systems. Comparison of ecological and/or agronomical studies between different continents are still rare; therefore, this analysis may help clarify what is an essential problem when considering technical transportation beyond continents and/or between temperate and tropical regions.