Special Issue "Restorative Agriculture"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (12 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Chris Pratt
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Environment and Science, Nathan campus, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
Interests: agricultural geochemistry; phosphorus; carbon; nitrogen cycling; drought resilience
Dr. Nicole Robinson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: plant nutrient relations
Mr. Ian Levett
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: sustainable soil ammendment technologies
Dr. Nicola Brown
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Food and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222 Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Interests: environmental engineering; phosphorus cycling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The agricultural sector is at a crossroads, as it faces several intersecting risks. Scrutiny of the environmental impacts of chemical fertilizer production and its application to soil has intensified in recent times, while the global security of key soil inputs such as phosphorus is uncertain. These challenges are intertwined with an ever-changing climate which is necessitating changes to “business-as-usual” farming practices. Hence, crop production strategies that adopt resilient methods of operation will be urgently sought in the coming years.

The aim of this Special Issue is to highlight emerging opportunities for the development of sustainable and robust crop–soil management practices that can address these looming global challenges. Although the Issue welcomes all work relating to this topic, contributions that respond to the following subject areas are particularly encouraged:

  • Developments in our understanding of the soil microbial community in cycling nutrients and water under changing climates;
  • Recoupling the geosphere with soil environments to support viable agricultural systems;
  • New advances in repurposing waste materials as soil amendments for fertilization and climate change adaptation, with the goal of decreasing reliance on chemically produced soil inputs;
  • Identification of ecological management practices that enhance soil agricultural productivity.

We look forward to your contribution to this exciting Special Issue: “Restorative Agriculture”.

Dr. Chris Pratt
Dr. Nicole Robinson
Mr. Ian Levett
Dr. Nicola Brown
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • drought
  • ecology
  • fertilizer
  • geosphere
  • microbiology
  • restoration
  • soil

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Organic Wastes Amended with Sorbents Reduce N2O Emissions from Sugarcane Cropping
Environments 2021, 8(8), 78; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8080078 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Nutrient-rich organic wastes and soil ameliorants can benefit crop performance and soil health but can also prevent crop nutrient sufficiency or increase greenhouse gas emissions. We hypothesised that nitrogen (N)-rich agricultural waste (poultry litter) amended with sorbents (bentonite clay or biochar) or compost [...] Read more.
Nutrient-rich organic wastes and soil ameliorants can benefit crop performance and soil health but can also prevent crop nutrient sufficiency or increase greenhouse gas emissions. We hypothesised that nitrogen (N)-rich agricultural waste (poultry litter) amended with sorbents (bentonite clay or biochar) or compost (high C/N ratio) attenuates the concentration of inorganic nitrogen (N) in soil and reduces emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O). We tested this hypothesis with a field experiment conducted on a commercial sugarcane farm, using in vitro incubations. Treatments received 160 kg N ha−1, either from mineral fertiliser or poultry litter, with additional N (2–60 kg N ha−1) supplied by the sorbents and compost. Crop yield was similar in all N treatments, indicating N sufficiency, with the poultry litter + biochar treatment statistically matching the yield of the no-N control. Confirming our hypothesis, mineral N fertiliser resulted in the highest concentrations of soil inorganic N, followed by poultry litter and the amended poultry formulations. Reflecting the soil inorganic N concentrations, the average N2O emission factors ranked as per the following: mineral fertiliser 8.02% > poultry litter 6.77% > poultry litter + compost 6.75% > poultry litter + bentonite 5.5% > poultry litter + biochar 3.4%. All emission factors exceeded the IPCC Tier 1 default for managed soils (1%) and the Australian Government default for sugarcane soil (1.25%). Our findings reinforce concerns that current default emissions factors underestimate N2O emissions. The laboratory incubations broadly matched the field N2O emissions, indicating that in vitro testing is a cost-effective first step to guide the blending of organic wastes in a way that ensures N sufficiency for crops but minimises N losses. We conclude that suitable sorbent-waste formulations that attenuate N release will advance N efficiency and the circular nutrient economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restorative Agriculture)
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Article
Modification of Hardwood Derived Biochar to Improve Phosphorus Adsorption
Environments 2021, 8(5), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8050041 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
The excessive application of phosphorus in agricultural lands leads to serious environmental issues. Efficient application is beneficial from an economic and environmental perspectives. Biochar can be used as a carrier for slow release of phosphate. However, its adsorption capacity is limited. In this [...] Read more.
The excessive application of phosphorus in agricultural lands leads to serious environmental issues. Efficient application is beneficial from an economic and environmental perspectives. Biochar can be used as a carrier for slow release of phosphate. However, its adsorption capacity is limited. In this work, biochar was prepared at different pyrolysis temperatures (350–550 °C). The biochar prepared at 550 °C had the highest adsorption capacity and was selected for modification by magnesium impregnation. Magnesium modification enhanced the adsorption capacity by 34% to a theoretical max adsorption capacity of 463.5 mg·g−1. The adsorbed phosphate can be desorbed. The desorption was bi-phasic with fast- and slow-release fractions. The distribution of the phosphate fractions was pH dependent with slow release being most prominent in neutral conditions. Mg modified biochar can be used to recover phosphate and then used as a carrier for slow release of phosphate. The bi-phasic desorption behaviour is useful as the fast release fraction can provide the immediate phosphate needed during plant establishment, while the slow-release fraction maintains steady supply over extended periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restorative Agriculture)
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