Science and agriculture: promoting beneficial symbiosis

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Scientific paper looking at the relationships between scientists and farmers:

Hannah Bowley, Philip Wright & Alex Stewart (2020). Science and agriculture: promoting beneficial symbiosis. Environmental Geochemistry and Health.  DOI 10.1007/s10653-020-00608-0


While fundamental research into key mechanisms and interactions is important, the practical investigations that scientists also undertake have additional considerations, since the results are applicable in the real world but need disseminating in a way that reaches the intended audience. Worldwide, rapid population growth produces multiple pressures on land, meaning agriculture must become more efficient and productive. Other pressures on farmers are also increasing: to meet environmental quality standards, to follow legislation about application of chemical products, to remain financially viable against uncertain markets, and more. Applied research addresses specific aspects, but often reports do not describe local contexts or are too restricted, lacking details that enable an understanding of their wider application. We illustrate from our experience within UK agriculture, with a particular focus on soil, the identification of current shortcomings in many research publications; provide examples of good practice; and make suggestions for how scientists can help agriculturalists use their work to address the global issues currently faced. Specifically, we recommend that communication between science and agricultural communities is nurtured, to improve mutual understanding and facilitate two-way flow of ideas. In scientific publications, provision of as much contextual information as possible, and consideration for climatic/temporal/ location influences, will enable investigations and results to be used for maximum practical effect and should increase citations


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