A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists performed a review of 150 field studies on practices that make soil more sponge-like and improve infiltration and porosity. These practices included no-till cropping; planting of cover crops between cash crop seasons; use of ecological livestock grazing systems; integration of crops and livestock; and use of perennial crops. This study found that the largest and most consistent improvements came from practices that keep roots in the soil throughout the year. A model showed that shifting to adoption of soil-improving practices on the most erodible or least profitable croplands in Iowa could result in less flood runoff and reduced flood frequency. The full report, Turning Soils into Sponges, is available online.
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