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  • Author: Rosana Maria Kral x
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Open access

Katharina Maria Keiblinger and Rosana Maria Kral

Summary

Dwindling natural resources, growing population pressure, climate change, and degraded soils threaten agricultural production. In order to feed the growing world population, we have to develop strategies to sustainably intensify current agricultural production while reducing the adverse effects of agriculture. Currently, a number of amendments have come into focus for improving structure and fertility of soils. Zeolites, biochar (BC), lime, and nitrification inhibitors (NIs) are reviewed for their properties. Zeolites and BC share many characteristics, such as a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), high specific surface area, and high porosity. Lime, on the other hand, works above all through its buffering capacity and can improve aggregate stability. Although the latter amendments change soil physicochemical characteristics, NIs do not act on soil properties but constrain a chemical/enzymatic reaction directly. These amendments are potential strategies to mitigate ongoing soil degradation and to secure soil fertility, under the global challenges. While the ecological effects of these soil amendments are studied intensively, the extent to which they can contribute to sustainable intensification is not fully explored. We want to contribute to the debate by providing an overview that seeks to integrate ecological evidence with the agronomic perspective.