Global soils are the stuff of life. We’re destroying everything they offer.

Global soils are the source of all life on land but their future looks “bleak” without action to halt degradation, according to the authors of a UN report.

A quarter of all the animal species on Earth live beneath our feet and provide the nutrients for all food. Soils also store as much carbon as all plants above ground and are therefore critical in tackling the climate emergency. But there also are major gaps in knowledge, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) report, which is the first on the global state of biodiversity in soils.

The report was compiled by 300 scientists, who describe the worsening state of soils as at least as important as the climate crisis and destruction of the natural world above ground. Crucially, it takes thousands of years for soils to form, meaning urgent protection and restoration of the soils that remain is needed.

The scientists describe soils as like the skin of the living world, vital but thin and fragile, and easily damaged by intensive farming, forest destruction, pollution and global heating…

Soils simultaneously produce food, store carbon and purify water, he said, so they are “at least as important” as the climate and above-ground biodiversity crises. “If you’re losing the top soil through bad treatment and then erosion, then it takes thousands of years until the soil is produced again.”

We know next to nothing about the life in our soils. Yes, we have categorized a great deal – with little or no information on how they act upon their environment. Which, in turn, is the growth medium for virtually all our food.

5 thoughts on “Global soils are the stuff of life. We’re destroying everything they offer.

  1. p/s says:

    ‘Wolf Packs’ of Predatory Bacteria Lurk in Our Soil, And They Play a Crucial Role https://www.sciencealert.com/predatory-bacteria-hunt-in-wolf-packs-within-the-soil-playing-a-huge-role-in-earth-s-nutrient-cycles
    Alternative to Conventional Fertilizers: Fungi Could Manipulate Bacteria to Enrich Soil With Nutrients https://scitechdaily.com/alternative-to-conventional-fertilizers-fungi-could-manipulate-bacteria-to-enrich-soil-with-nutrients/
    New Soil Study Shows Pesticides ‘Destroying the Very Foundations of Web of Life’ : “These troubling findings add to the urgency of reining in pesticide use to save biodiversity.” https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/04/new-soil-study-shows-pesticides-destroying-very-foundations-web-life

  2. stuartbramhall says:

    Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    Soils simultaneously produce food, store carbon and purify water, he said, so they are “at least as important” as the climate and above-ground biodiversity crises. “If you’re losing the top soil through bad treatment and then erosion, then it takes thousands of years until the soil is produced again.”

  3. Santayana says:

    Indigenous forest gardens remain productive and diverse for over a century : Gardens persist for 150 years after those who planted them were removed. https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/05/indigenous-forest-gardens-remain-productive-and-diverse-for-over-a-century/
    In the last few decades, archeologists have learned that perennial forest management—the creation and care of long-lived food-bearing shrubs and plants next to forests—was common among the Indigenous societies of North America’s northwestern coast. The forest gardens played a central role in the diet and stability of these cultures in the past, and now a new publication shows that they offer an example of a far more sustainable and biodiverse alternative to conventional agriculture. (see https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol26/iss2/art6/ )

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