Soil Quality Attributes
Not to try to beat this issue to death...that is not the point of this message;
the distinction between soil quality and soil attributes that make them
usable is one that needs to be ironed out in a better way if we are to
clearly conceive and test soil quality indicators.
The fact that soils of all types can respond to management inputs
is one upon which the industrial model of agriculture has depended. In
many cases soils that would otherwise be unsuited for crop production
have produced bumper yields. The question is not whether or not this
should be a consideration for agriculture so much as it is whether or
not this should be a criteria for determining soil quality.
The discussions of soil quality have focused on improving or
regenerating lost capacity of soils that have been damaged by intensive
agricultural management. I suggest that this is the proper avenue of
thought. If it is necessary to describe the ability of soil to respond
to physical and chemical management so that production is made
either possible or profitable then perhaps there should be a separate
parameter by which we assess soil response...we could call it
response to management for lack of a more creative term.
Thank you for the quality discussion.
Natural Resources Conservation Service