Conservation Tillage in Medicinal Plant Cultivation in China: What, Why, and How

Ecological cultivation is a promising regime for medicinal plant production. For a long time, unreasonable farming methods have threatened soil health and medicinal agriculture and restricted the sustainable development of ecological agriculture for medicinal plants. However, there is a lack of comprehensive discourse and discussion about the pros and cons of different tillage regimes. Here, the research trend and application prospects of no-tillage (NT) are comprehensively reviewed, and the ecological benefits, challenges, and opportunities of the NT system in ecological agriculture of medicinal plants are scrutinized, aiming to call for an about-face in the sustainable conservation and utilization of both phytomedicine resources and agricultural/ecological resources. An exhaustive literature search in PubMed, Bing, Scopus, and CNKI was performed to outline the research trend in conservation tillage and medicinal plants during the recent four decades. The application of NT has a long history and can reduce tillage frequency and intensity and protect soil from erosion and deterioration. 

Da-cheng Hao

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