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The importance and role of the geosciences in studies of sustainable agriculture include such traditional research areas as, agromineral resource assessments, the mapping and classification of soils and soil amendments, and the evaluation of landscapes for their vulnerability to physical and chemical degradation. Less traditional areas of study, that are increasing in societal importance because of environmental concerns and research into sustainable systems in general, include regional geochemical studies of plant and animal trace element deficiencies and toxicities, broad-scale water quality investigations, agricultural chemicals and the hydrogeologic interface, and minimally processed and ion-exchange agrominerals. We discuss the importance and future of phosphate in the US and world based on human population growth, projected agromineral demands in general, and the unavailability of new, high-quality agricultural lands. We also present examples of studies that relate geochemistry and the hydrogeologic characteristics of a region to the bioavailability and cycling of trace elements important to sustainable agricultural systems. ?? 1993.
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Geologic research in support of sustainable agriculture