Connecting soil health and water quality in agricultural landscapes

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3 Scopus citations


As soil plays an integral role in the water cycle, the dynamic and inherent attributes of soil are important drivers of the amount and quality of water in streams, lakes and groundwater. Studies have demonstrated links between agricultural soil management and water movement in soil, to the edge of fields, and across entire watersheds that feed water bodies of interest. Still, not enough is known about linkages between soil management, soil health, and watershed water quality to adequately predict impacts of land use changes and to effectively use soil management as a tool for water resource management. This paper describes the mechanisms connecting soil health and water quality, the state of the science at the nexus of the two fields of study, and an overview of articles in this special issue on the topic. A fundamental challenge is measuring and elucidating connections between processes working at different temporal and spatial scales. Research needs include: expansion of field scale data and analysis of combined data sets, greater understanding of the mechanisms that explain observed associations between management practices and water quality, ensuring hydrologic models and decision-support tools more effectively reflect these soil-water mechanisms, and greater use of systems-based research designs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-421
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

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This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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