This is quite good to ask. Land Institute's work on perrennial seed grain
makes the point. Annual tillage resets eco - succession clock; what does
this do to soil biota? Apart and before concern from residues, how does
active chemistry impact and then alter soil biota? Mycorrhizae impact
certainly likely from tillage or chemicals. Furthermore, perrennial
polycultures have potentially positive mutual adaptive benefits, rather
than monocrops - and mechanical or chemical tillage. What are Nature's
analogs for tillage?
Permaculture is another attempt to put forward sustainable approach that
depends on perrenials, tree crops, habitat diversity for biocontrol,and an
ethic. Diversity in production system makes other local foods available,
at least seasonably harvested. Wheat, corn, rice and beans makes up xx% of
diet? Can we diversify our dietary dependance?
One difficulty in this important question is the large level of ignorance
and lack of funded research on soil system life form, taxonomy and
BIOCYCLE and BIOSCIENCE Journals, for instance.) Composting is management
(cultural) analog of natural soil building process. Forest floor dynamics
'heartwood' of competing models of industrial forestry vs ecoforestry, old
growth and biodiversity linkage.
Since Forestry (US Forest Service)is in the farm bill, maybe we can look at
criteria for sustainability in forest, private woodlands. urban forestry
and agroforestry mgmt for hints on this question. Annual tillage with
woody stem crops are uncommon systems.
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