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2 - SOIL DEGRADATION

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Soil. Soil cross section. Lamella clay sandy soil. WSD3. Let's talk about soil. Soil and change. Soil Degradation: The process of soil losing its fertility and nutrients and becoming biologically dead (reducing in quality and quantity).

Soil and change

Problems Caused by Soil Degradation Desertification: The process of fertile land turning into desert. As the soil becomes more degraded and has less nutrients it can not support vegetation and effectively turns to desert.Dust Storms: As soil become less stable because of the lack of vegetation it become much more vulnerable to wind erosion which can create large scale dust storms.

Northern China is suffering from an increased frequency of dust storms as desertification takes place south of the Gobi Desert.China sandstorm leaves Beijing shrouded in Orange Dust - BBC articleTopsoil Erosion: The top layer of the soil often referred to as the humus layers is very nutrient rich. Soil & Change (4hrs) - Geography for 2015. Integrated soil fertility video. Soil presentation by Benedicta Philip. Soil Fertility. Soil Fertility This refers to the ability of the soil to supply essential plant nutrients and soil water in adequate amounts and proportions for plant growth and reproduction in the absence of toxic substances which may inhibit plant growth.

Soil Fertility

Soils are composed of five main components: mineral particles derived from rocks by weathering;organic materials - humus from dead and decaying plant material;soil water - in which nutrient elements are dissolved;soil air - both carbon dioxide and oxygen;living organisms including bacteria that help plant decomposition. Soils differ because they have different proportions of these components and because the mineral particles have been affected to different degrees by weathering. We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, because all human life depends on it. Imagine a wonderful world, a planet on which there was no threat of climate breakdown, no loss of freshwater, no antibiotic resistance, no obesity crisis, no terrorism, no war.

We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, because all human life depends on it

Surely, then, we would be out of major danger? Sorry. Even if everything else were miraculously fixed, we’re finished if we don’t address an issue considered so marginal and irrelevant that you can go for months without seeing it in a newspaper. It’s literally and – it seems – metaphorically, beneath us. To judge by its absence from the media, most journalists consider it unworthy of consideration.

The issue hasn’t changed, but we have. To keep up with global food demand, the UN estimates, 6m hectares (14.8m acres) of new farmland will be needed every year. Healthy Soil is the Best Crop. I’ll bet you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about dirt.

Healthy Soil is the Best Crop

Even foodies who praise local produce and grassfed beef don’t regularly pepper culinary conversations with soil’s virtues. Compared with a plump, intoxicatingly fragrant, just-picked strawberry, dirt is not the most sensually compelling call-to-arms for agricultural sustainability. The fight for healthier soil is often swept away in our global debate over how to responsibly feed 9 billion people by 2050. But as Plato wrote, the beginning is the most important part of the work, and almost everything on your menu today began with soil. Just as oenophiles praise a wine for its “terroir,” or flavor of the land, the richness and variety we enjoy in our food, we owe to the ground. Enter the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), supporting America’s soil with its Unlock the Secrets in the Soil campaign. Although “dirt-to-table” doesn’t have quite the ring as “farm-to-table,” soil is critical to our culinary future. Do We Treat Our Soil Like Dirt? That question headlining a 1984 National Geographic article on soils remains as relevant today as it was more than 30 years ago.

Do We Treat Our Soil Like Dirt?

We lavish attention on our food, we want to know where it came from, who grew it, and whether it is “conventional” or “organic.” But we give hardly a passing thought to the ground our food grew in. Soil could use some more attention and respect. After all, soil is the thin skin of our earth where we plant and grow the vital grain crops like wheat, rice, and corn that feed more than seven billion of us. And while the future rests on the soil beneath our feet, as National Geographic also put it in a 2008 article on soils, history is littered with the remains of civilizations that ignored, exploited, and degraded the soil beneath their feet.

One third of the world’s soil already has been damaged by water and wind erosion, deforestation, compaction, nutrient depletion, and pollution. In the late 1930s, soil scientist W.C. It’s about time. When land is degraded, its people and their prospects are degraded too. With so many of the world's 48 least developed countries (LDCs) at the centre of global security concerns – from Afghanistan to Central African Republic to Mali, Nigeria and Somalia – wealthier states would be wise to support the actions LDC politicians agreed to (pdf) at a meeting they held in Benin last week.

When land is degraded, its people and their prospects are degraded too

LDCs identified areas that can boost their economies if they take action: reorienting policies for agriculture, rural and infrastructure development, and for private investment; building small and medium-sized enterprises; diversifying commodities; investing in women and youth, and physical infrastructure; and mobilising their diaspora communities. Support from external sources will be crucial. Global resources are finite, but that is not a justification for inaction. Rather, eradicating poverty and bolstering economic security in LDCs (pdf) calls for accurate, targeted action. So where should the international community aim its efforts?

Land is a vital natural resource. OrganicFarming (@OrganicFarmingB)

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