Prof. Joshua O. Ogunwole is Vice Chancellor, Bowen University, Iwo, Nigeria and a Professor of Applied Soil Physics &Environmental sciences.
He will speak on Soil Management for Sustainable Intensification
One of the fundamental lessons learned through the past half century of agricultural research is that there are no “one size fits all” best management practices. The interaction of different soils with different cultures in different climates results in the need for unique approaches to sustainable agricultural systems in each situation. The transition to systems that are both sustainable and sufficiently intense to support the increasing density of human population will be faster or slower depending on the resources available. The ease of this transition will also depend on how far down the road to resource degradation and unsustainable intensification a particular system has already gone. Although there are no easy short cuts to this transition, we can avoid the mistakes of the past and build on experiences with successful systems. This paper focuses on certain principles of soil management that have wide, although not universal, applicability and can help guide the transition to sustainability. Major goals that need to be addressed by soil management approaches include: 1) conservation and efficient use of water resources, 2) prevention of erosion and soil degradation, and 3) enhancement of nutrient cycling. If we examine sustainable approaches to meeting these goals, we will see that there is a common thread involving the management of soil organic matter. During the past half century agriculturalists allowed the immediate effectiveness of modern agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides to somewhat divert their attention from the need to manage soil organic matter. More recent experience and research have brought us back to the realization, shared by earlier generations, that soil organic matter management is a key factor in achieving successful long-term sustainability.