The Economics of Soil Health: Current Knowledge, Open Questions, and Policy Implications
agriculture, soil health
Soil health plays an important role in agricultural productivity, environmental success, and ecosystem sustainability. Healthy soil is associated with a greater amount of organic matter, high levels of active carbon, adequate levels of nitrogen, and a prospering microbial ecosystem. Healthy soils can help increase plant growth, reduce erosion, can help prevent pest growth and disease outbreak, and can serve as a carbon sink. Even though it is known that healthy soil has many benefits, there is room for improvement for policy makers to improve existing economic and policy frameworks, and inform farmers’ of the soil health on their farm. The economic framework of a case study in Kenya provides a concrete starting point for future economic analyses and case studies of soil health issues. The author’s findings suggest that optimal management of both the agricultural system and soil carbon would lead to increased yields and increased levels of soil carbon in the long run.