Soil fertility management a century ago in Farmers of Forty Centuries

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4 Scopus citations


Published just over a century ago, Farmers of Forty Centuries or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan, served to document the viability and productivity of traditional agricultural systems that relied on composting, and complete recycling of all types of natural waste materials, as a means of sustaining soil fertility. This cardinal rule of waste management and organic soil husbandry became known as ?the law of return? to organic farming. With regards to nutrient management, organic farming methods uses restorative cultural practices that include the law of return principle which encourages the closure of nutrient cycles. In these respects, organic farming methods are arguably more firmly grounded in ecology and sustainability than the promotions of the chemical fertilizer industry which has largely displaced traditional soil fertility practices. Farmers of Forty Centuries is a classic with valuable lessons and experience to offer towards teaching modern concepts in sustainable agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2796-2801
Number of pages6
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • China
  • F.H. King
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Law of return
  • Livestock and human manure
  • Organic farming
  • Permanent agriculture
  • Soil fertility
  • Sustainability


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