Defined as “continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans,” soil health is an important factor in ecosystem sustainability and agricultural production, and is being explored extensively by researchers at the University of Guelph.
Farming practices such as long-term monocultures, frequent tillage, and fertilizers can result in reduced soil health and ecosystem degradation. Researchers at the University are exploring ways to improve soil health for sustainably intensifying food production, which includes farming practices such as the installation of tile drainage systems, reduced tillage or no-tillage, and the use of cover crops.
Researchers at the University of Guelph who focus on this area of research include:
- Prof. Claudia Wagner-Riddle (greenhouse gas emissions and soil ecosystem services)
- Prof. Laura Van Eerd (soil fertility and cover crops)
- Prof. Kari Dunfield (soil microbiology)
- Prof. Asim Biswas (sustainable soil management)
- Prof. Paul Voroney (soil biology and biochemistry)
- Prof. Marc Habash (microbial interactions)
- Prof. Ivan O’Halloran (soil fertility management)
- Prof. John Lauzon (soil nutrient cycling)
- Prof. Bill Deen (sustainable agroecosystems)
- Prof. Katerina Serlemitsos Jordan (plant-soil-pathogen relationships)
- “Ask not what your soil can do for you, ask what you can do for your soil”
- “Soil health for a stronger planet”
- “Microbes poised to transform food production and health”
- “Researchers Unearthing Methods to Boost Agricultural Soils”
- “Shining the Spotlight on Soil: ‘We Can’t Take It for Granted”
- “Much More than Dirt: Lysimeter research”
Food from Thought is funding research related to sustainable crop production, soil health and assessing the relationships between farming and ecosystems. Learn more about our crops research.
The OMAFRA-U of G Agreement funds priority-driven research and knowledge mobilization to grow Ontario’s capacity to produce food, protect plant, animal and public health, and ensure a competitive and sustainable agri-food sector. Protecting and promoting soil health is a key focus of our funded research. Our research supports evidence-informed policies, programs, Best Management Practices, and innovative tools and technologies that help keep our soil healthy and productive. Learn more about our soil health research.