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Soils: no longer just muck, and much more than magic

Lynda Brown: My head is still reeling from the fascinating but also alarming statistics I heard on BBC radio 4’s Shared Planet yesterday, presented by the Soil Association’s president, Monty Don. The programmed covered how soil is the biological engine of the Earth, yet is the world’s least understood eco-system; how there are 50,000 different types of soil, home to 1/3 world’s living organisms (including a 100 billion types of bacteria and 10,000 tiny organisms); how its fuel is organic matter, and how its health and biology is regulated by its structure; how earth worms are the vital player, moving as much soil as tractors; how 95% of our food depends on soil, yet we are losing it 50 times faster than it can be replaced; how soil acts as the primary filter for our drinking water (and how water companies have to treat it to rid it of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers); how soil is the largest reservoir of carbon on earth, out performing rain forests; how bacteria secrete compounds that provide the ‘glue’ to make strong soil structure, trash bacteria and you trash the structure; and so on.

16 October 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 8

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