The Effect of Stubble Burning and Residue Management on Soil Properties: A Review

Pratistha Pradhan

Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Coochbehar, West Bengal – 736165, India.

Abhas Kumar Sinha

Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Coochbehar, West Bengal – 736165, India.

Tapas Kumar Pandit *

Regional Research Station (Old Alluvial Zone), Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Dakshin Dinajpur, West Bengal – 733133, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Stubble burning, a common agricultural practice, has gained significant attention due to its adverse effects on soil properties and environmental sustainability. The in-situ burning of stubble, especially in the context of the rice-wheat cropping system, can significantly alter the physical and chemical properties of soil, particularly in the topsoil layer. The factors contributing to crop residue burning in India include time constraints between successive crops which necessitates the need to clear fields quickly and limited access to mechanized equipment for residue management. As a result, many farmers resort to burning crop residues as a quick and cost-effective method to clear fields for the next planting season. In situ stubble management techniques offer sustainable alternatives to address these issues and promote soil health as this once-dismissed residue transforms into a strategic tool for nurturing soil vitality. This review provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of stubble burning on various soil properties, especially in the context of burning of rice residues. It synthesizes existing literature and research findings to elucidate the interactions between stubble burning and soil health and evaluates mainly the long-term consequences of stubble burning on soil fertility and productivity. Based on the findings, crop residue burning disrupts soil ecosystems, impairs nutrient cycling, decreases soil fertility and compromises ecosystem resilience, leading to long-term soil degradation while the short-term effects remain less understood across different contexts.

Keywords: Residue incorporation, rice-wheat cropping system, stubble burning, soil fertility

How to Cite

Pradhan, P., Sinha , A. K., & Pandit, T. K. (2024). The Effect of Stubble Burning and Residue Management on Soil Properties: A Review. International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, 36(6), 36–49.


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