The role of conservation agriculture in sustainable agriculture

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Royal Society Publishing


The paper identifies conservation agriculture as the most sustainable agricultural approach for the future. Conservation agriculture is defined as a style of farming that incorporates no-till (NT) to ensure minimum soil distribution, and constant soil covering though utilization of mulch, with rotations. The benefits of tillage are elaborated upon, followed by an explanation of the principles of conservation tillage. The authors cite the benefits of conservation agriculture - improved soil properties, strengthened biotic conditions, more efficient use of natural resources, smaller environmental impact, smaller greenhouse gas emissions, and smaller impact on global warming - as reasons why conservation agriculture is a better food production system than conservation tillage. The authors utilize case studies from the irrigated maize–wheat systems of Northwest Mexico and from the rice–wheat areas of the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia to elaborate upon these arguments. The paper concludes that despite dwindling land and natural resources available for food production, integration of conservation agriculture will help to meet the needs of the rising global population.


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Soil erosion, Food security, Climate control, Conservation, Conservation strategy, Food aid, Northwest mexico, Indo-gangetic plains of south asia, Direct seeding, Zero tillage, Rice-wheat systems, Bed planting, Mulching, Ecosystem Watershed


Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B 393: 543-555