Soil Bioplastic Mulches for Agroecosystem Sustainability: A Comprehensive Review
The use of plastic mulch films is widespread in agriculture for specialty cropping systems because of several benefits. In this article, we critically review, for the first time under a holistic approach, the use of biodegradable plastic mulches (BdPMs) in soil as a sustainable alternative to conventional petroleum-based plastics, highlighting the current state of understanding of their degradation in soil and their effect on soil microorganisms, weed control, and soil properties. In addition, we provide a detailed focus on the history and economic importance of mulching. BdPMs are effective for use in vegetable production in that they improve physical, chemical, and biological soil properties, as well as enhancing microbial biodiversity, controlling weeds, and maintaining soil moisture. BdPMs could be useful to limit the use of agrochemicals and reduce tillage and irrigation supplies for sustainable management.