Assessing Cross-disciplinary Efficiency of Soil Amendments for Agro-biologically, Economically, and Ecologically Integrated Soil Health Management


  • Haddish Melakeberhan


fertilizer use efficiency model, normalized difference vegetative index, nutrient amendment, soil amendments, soil degradation, soybeans, soybean cyst nematode


Preventive and/or manipulative practices will be needed to maintain soil's biological, physiochemical, nutritional, and structural health in natural, managed, and disturbed ecosystems as a foundation for food security and global ecosystem sustainability. While there is a substantial body of interdisciplinary science on understanding function and structure of soil ecosystems, key gaps must be bridged in assessing integrated agro-biological, ecological, economical, and environmental efficiency of soil manipulation practices in time and space across ecosystems. This presentation discusses the application of a fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) model for assessing agronomic, economic, ecological, environmental, and nematode (pest) management efficiency of soil amendments. FUE is defined as increase in host productivity and/or decrease in plant-parasitic nematode population density in response to a given fertilizer treatment. Using the effects of nutrient amendment on Heterodera glycines population density and normalized difference vegetative index (indicator of physiological activities) of a soybean cultivar 'CX 252', how the FUE model recognizes variable responses and separates nutrient deficiency and toxicity from nematode parasitism as well as suitability of treatments designed to achieve desired biological and physiochemical soil health conditions is demonstrated. As part of bridging gaps between agricultural and ecological approaches to integrated understanding and management of soil health, modifications of the FUE model for analyzing the relationships amongst nematode community structure, soil parameters (eg. pH, nutrients, %OM), and plant response to soil amendment is discussed.