THE IMPORTANCE OF SOIL ORGANIC MATTER (SOM) ON SOIL PRODUCTIVITY AND PLANT GROWTH
Keywords:soil organic matter, soil health, crop production, nutrient supply, soil structure, water-holding capacity, microbial activity, climate change, sustainability
Soil organic matter (SOM) is vital to soil health and plays a critical role in crop production. This review paper examines the impact of SOM on soil health, crop production, and the challenges and opportunities associated with managing SOM. The paper emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary research, technological advancements, and supportive policies in addressing SOM dynamics and management complexities. The review highlights the role of SOM in nutrient supply, soil structure improvement, water-holding capacity, and microbial activity enhancement, which are fundamental for sustainable agricultural systems. Various management practices to enhance SOM, including organic amendments, cover cropping, conservation tillage, and crop rotation, are discussed. Despite the benefits of managing SOM, challenges such as slow formation rates, trade-offs with other agricultural objectives, and economic viability exist. Addressing these challenges requires further research, knowledge exchange, and integrating traditional knowledge with modern technologies. Future perspectives and research needs include advancing interdisciplinary collaboration, harnessing emerging technologies, understanding the interactions between SOM and climate change, exploring novel management practices, quantifying ecosystem services, addressing knowledge gaps, and providing policy support and incentives. Sustainable soil management strategies can be developed by embracing these perspectives and addressing the identified research needs. These strategies optimize SOM levels, promote soil health, enhance crop productivity, and contribute to global food security and environmental sustainability. Overall, this review provides valuable insights for researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders in their efforts to enhance SOM management and promote sustainable agriculture.
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