Posts tagged soil health
Part of the Answer to Climate Change May Be America’s Trees and Dirt, Scientists Say

When people think of potential solutions to global warming, they tend to visualize technologies like solar panels or electric cars. A new study found that better management of forests, grasslands and soils in the United States could offset as much as 21 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

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Nurturing life, from the soil up

My father’s postwar generation of farmers emphasized the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers to increase production. What these methods ignored was the need of the dirt itself. Today, we understand the cost of these practices, not only for the larger environment, but in terms of what farmers, politicians, and environmental historians loosely call soil exhaustion. 

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Soil holds potential to slow global warming, Stanford researchers find

The land under our feet and the plant matter it contains could offset a significant amount of carbon emissions if managed properly. More research is needed to unlock soil’s potential to mitigate global warming, improve crop yields and increase resilience to extreme weather.

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Why Farming is Broken (And Always Has Been)

Natural ecosystems are self-sustaining.  For at least 10,000 years, humans have disrupted those ecosystems and kept them in a continuous state of disruption in order to feed our populations. Increasingly, the scale of those agricultural disruptions threatens to permanently degrade the ecosphere upon which we depend.

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Farmers Increase Profits Using Traditional Practices

Healthy food can only be produced in healthy soil; tragically, through years of use of synthetic, nitrogen-based fertilizers, farm land has lost a significant amount of soil microbial diversity and health. Moreover, organic carbon loss, driven in part by nitrogen fertilizers, has led to poor water infiltration, soil erosion, unhealthy plant root systems, poor yield and nutrient-poor plants. The solution lies in regenerative land management that can be practiced at home and on the farm, including little to no-till management, planting cover crops and plant rotation — all of which result in higher yield and reduced overhead costs

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Improving Africa’s soils to cut emissions and boost food security

How we manage soils is crucial to tackling climate change. Earth Overshoot Day aims to highlight the moment each year when our use of the planet’s resources tips into “overdraft”. The day helps to highlight why restoring landscapes, particularly soils, has benefits for food security, livelihoods and the climate.

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How, And Why, Some Farmers Are Bringing Livestock Back To The Prairie

On a cloudy summer day, Iowa farmer Wendy Johnson lifts the corner of a mobile chicken tractor, a lightweight mesh-covered plastic frame that has corralled her month-old meat chickens for a few days, and frees several dozen birds to peck the surrounding area at will. Soon, she'll sell these chickens to customers at local markets.

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To restore our soils, feed the microbes

Our soils are in trouble. Over the past century, we’ve abused them with plowing, tilling and too much fertilizer.What many think of as “just dirt” is actually an incredibly complex mixture of rock-derived minerals, plant-derived organic matter, dissolved nutrients, gases and a rich food web of interacting organisms.

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Low-Cost Biochar Application in Tanzania Shows Astounding Increases

Since the nonprofit Radio Lifeline launched its Black Earth Project in 2012 — involving the use of biochar as a soil amendment for coffee — the returns have been overwhelmingly positive, showing dramatically increased yields and improved quality at test sites in Rwanda, and now Tanzania.

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Grasslands restoration is working in the soil, too

A new study finds that tallgrass prairie restoration at a large Illinois preserve is working at a foundational level -- in the soil. Bacteria in the soil are recolonizing and recovering on their own to resemble soil found in remnant prairies. The study shows that a carefully managed restoration can produce successes even beyond easily-recognized plant and animal biodiversity.

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A farm shouldn’t be a factory

Most of today’s food is produced by industrial agriculture and that’s a problem.Industrialized agriculture essentially turns farms into a factories, requiring inputs like synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, large amounts of irrigation water, and fossil fuels to produce outputs like genetically modified crops (corn, soy, wheat) and livestock (meat, poultry, pork) by mechanized production means.

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