Good practice leaflets
In each of the study sites the iSQAPER team, together with local farmers or land users, identified the main agricultural management practices used locally. The practices vary according to the climatic zone, soil type and crop produced. Some of them were conventional and designed to maximise yield while other innovative* practices were being used with the explicit purpose of also benefitting or improving soil quality. In the European study sites the most common innovative practices were: manuring & composting, crop rotation and minimum tillage. The most common in China were: manuring & composting, residue maintenance/mulching and integrated pest and disease management (incl. organic agriculture). For more details see: »Impact of promising land managment practices
In two separate field campaigns we compared the effects of the innovative to the conventional practices by assessing soil quality of 132 pairs of neighbouring fields. For more details of the visual assessment methods see: »Visual soil and plant quality assessment
Of the original 132, one or two practices per country were identified as having the best proven effectiveness on improving soil quality in that location. Many of these practices are described in the leaflets below which explain the
- principles of the practice,
- the soil threat it is designed to address,
- the scientific evidence for its effectiveness.
*Note: The use of the word innovative to describe some of these practices may look odd; in the history of agriculture crop rotation and manuring are hardly new. However within the context of iSQAPER's study sites these practices represent an improvement over conventional practice and are generally not widely applied in area.