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Precision farming (precision agriculture)

A management strategy that utilizes site-specific information to precisely and economically manage and optimize production inputs. (USDA NAL glossary)

Preferential flow

Water flow through macro-pores (e.g., cracks, root channels) in the unsaturated/ vadose zone

Primary ecological processes

Ecological processes including the water cycle (the capture, storage and redistribution of precipitation), energy flow (conversion of sunlight to plant and animal matter), and the nutrient cycle (the cycle of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus through the physical and biotic components of the environment).

Primary mineral

A mineral that has not been altered chemically since crystallization and deposition from molten lava. See also secondary mineral.


Physical, chemical and biological mechanisms that follow fundamental scientific laws. Examples include pedogenic processes, geomorphic processes, and ecological processes.


The capacity of a soil to produce plant biomass for human use, providing food, feed, fibre and fuel within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries


A column of soil extending through all its horizons and into the parent material and large enough to be used to characterise the soil condition at a particular place.


Situation in which revenues are higher than costs.

Protection of soil

Conscious process necessary for soil and soil properties preservation realised at different levels (personal, local, national, continental) and using information obtained by soil research. Sustainability is the result of this process.


Single-celled organisms with animal-like cells, including amoeba, ciliates, and flaggelates.

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