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Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Soils are like a bank account. You should only draw out what you put in."

“Keeping and putting carbon in its rightful place” needs to be the mantra for humanity if we want to continue to eat, drink and combat global warming, concluded 200 researchers from more than 30 countries.

 Healthy soil looks dark, crumbly, and porous, and is home to worms and other organisms. It feels soft, moist, and friable, and allows plant roots to grow unimpeded. (Credit: Colette Kessler, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)

"The dirt beneath our feet is a nearly magical world filled with tiny, wondrous creatures. A mere handful of soil might contain a half million different species including ants, earthworms, fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms. Soil provides nearly all of our food – only one percent of our calories come from the oceans, she said. Soil also gives life to all of the world’s plants that supply us with much of our oxygen, another important ecosystem service. Soil cleans water, keeps contaminants out of streams and lakes, and prevents flooding. Soil can also absorb huge amounts of carbon, second only to the oceans.

"It takes half a millennia to build two centimetres of living soil and only seconds to destroy it,” Glover said. Each year, 12 million hectares of land, where 20 million tonnes of grain could have been grown, are lost to land degradation. In the past 40 years, 30 percent of the planet’s arable (food-producing) land has become unproductive due to erosion. Unless this trend is reversed soon, feeding the world’s growing population will be impossible."

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/01