Looking after our soil

“Soil is our best ally in the fight against climate change. Storing more carbon in the soil helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But it also helps release nutrients for plant growth and improves the structure of the soil.”

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Soil is one of our most basic resources:

Natural capital: our natural resources – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And we need to be looking after it – which means doing things differently:

Radical changes to UK farming – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Drilling rather than ploughing – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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Writing in The Conservation today, soil scientist Dan Evans looks at why soil is so important:

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Soil is our best ally in the fight against climate change – but we’re fast running out of it

Take a handful of soil and hold it up to your nose. That fresh, earthy aroma is organic matter, part of which is carbon. What you can smell is the whiff of a solution for dealing with climate change.

Global soil resources contain more organic carbon than the world’s atmosphere and all of its plants combined. When plants photosynthesise, they take carbon out of the atmosphere and when they die, that carbon is returned to the soil.

Storing more carbon in the soil helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But it also helps release nutrients for plant growth and improves the structure of the soil, enhancing how well it retains water.

Maintaining these soil ecosystem services will become more important over the next few decades. By 2050, the global population is estimated to soar to more than 9 billion, and that will mean a much greater demand on the world’s soil. In business, when demand for a product grows, you increase its production. But for soil, it’s a different story…

Soil is our best ally in the fight against climate change – but we’re fast running out of it

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This is clearly an important subject:

Soils and climate change | fao.org

Soils linked to climate change | nature.com

Climate change being fuelled by soil damage – report – BBC News

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photo: Imaggeo – Climate change and arid soil

   
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