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Reservations regarding the soil quality concept

Reservaciones Concerniendo el Concepto de la Calidad del Suelo

Sojka, R.E. and Upchurch, D.R. (1999) Reservations regarding the soil quality concept. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 63:1039-1054.

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We consider the appropriateness of institutionalizing soil quality
as a defined parameter in soil science. The soil management research
of land grant universities and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
and the mission and goals of state, federal, and private conservation
agencies stand to be significantly affected. We feel that a non-advocative
examination of this concept could provide a positive contribution.
The definition of soil quality has proven elusive and value laden.
There is concern by some that the concept has developed arbitrary
policy overtones. Our reservations stem from concerns regarding premature
acceptance and institutionalization of an incompletely formulated
and largely untested paradigm, potential unintended negative
outcomes, promotion of a narrowly defined environmental policy in a
context normally associated with value-neutral science, and taxonomic
and/or regional bias in establishing the paradigm. To date, soil quality
assessments have drawn from a relatively narrow crop production and
ecological perspective to positively or negatively weight soil quality
assessment factors. Although the soil quality paradigm acknowledges
multi-defined soil functions, it has yet to operationally recognize and
integrate the simultaneity of diverse and often conflicting functions
and soil property requirements. Thus, we are attempting to articulate
the concerns of many of our colleagues who are reluctant to endorse
redefining the soil science paradigm away from the value-neutral
tradition of edaphology and specific problem solving to a paradigm
based on variable, and often subjective societal perceptions of environmental
holism. Traditionally, it has been the soil science profession's
role to perform the science to enable resource management policy
and problem solving, not to establish relational-based value systems
within the science. We suggest emphasizing quality soil management
rather than soil quality management as a professional and scientific

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0998
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:54
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2016 17:50
Item ID: 718