Soil Biology of the Canadian Prairies.
Although some soil microorganisms cause plant diseases, most soil inhabitants are beneficial to crop production and the environment through processes like the fixing and cycling of nitrogen, biological pest control, formation and maintenance of soil structure (tilth), and degradation of agrochemicals and pollutants. This paper discusses the distribution of these organisms in prairie soils and how they are affected by soil and crop management practices. The discussion includes soil fauna and microorganisms, and singles out three groups of microorganisms that are particularly important in crop production: arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, dark septate root inhabiting fungi, and rhizobia. The development of healthy diverse faunal and microbial communities in soil can be fostered by using soil management practices or systems like conservation tillage, crop rotation, proper nutrient management and application of organic manures when available.
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