In fields that have been cultivated with rice, frequent flood irrigation can lead to soil degradation.

When this type of cultivation has been implemented for several decades, will the soil suffer from irreversible (or hardly reversible) changes (permanent at the human timescale)?

I would like to hear your thoughts about physical, chemical, and biological degradation (loss of structure, compaction, nutrient losses and imbalances, biodiversity loss, etc.).

And more specifically, as a sub-question, will the prolonged anaerobic conditions lead to detrimental changes, impeding crop production, such as the formation of certain minerals (immobilization of nutrients) or accumulation of toxic substances (iron, hydrogen sulfide, etc.)?

Will the return of aerobic conditions through different management help the soil return to acceptable conditions? Can soil degradation be alleviated completely by draining and rebuilding soil structure, letting oxygen in?


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