World Soil Day 2019
Soil-themed contributor highlights from across the community
Today is World Soil Day, an annual event run by the UN FAO which aims to raise awareness of the need for healthy soil and promote sustainable management of soil resources. The theme this year is "Stop soil erosion, Save our future".
In support of World Soil Day, this post brings together research and opinion pieces from across the community with a single focus: soil-science.
Dialogue across diverse sectors helps create a basis for accelerating investment and action on soil carbon sequestration, and it all started with a conversation between two soil scientists according to Deborah Bossio.
Rowan Eisner and colleagues discuss the benefits of silvopasture, the practice of integrating trees, forage and grazing livestock, on soil structure and function. Did you know that microbial biomass and enzimatic activity, and therefore the availability of nutrients, can be higher in silvopastoral areas compared to conventional pasture?
Aridity negatively affects the availability of essential micronutrients in soil
Drylands cover more than 40% of Earth's terrestrial surface, but how does aridity impact soils in these regions? Evidence from a recent global soil survey suggests that aridity negatively affects the availability of essential micronutrients, such as iron and zinc, and this may pose serious threats to ecological services with increasing aridity due to climate change. Eduardo Moreno Jimenez explains further in his Behind the Paper post.
Hiding beneath agricultural soils is a complex network of drainage infrastructure dedicated to collecting and transporting water. Mike Castellano describes the challenges of updating this infrastructure in response to climate change and agricultural intensification whilst increasing crop production and reducing environmental impact. In a separate post especially for World Soil Day, Mike and his colleague Rick Cruse share details about the Daily Erosion Project, an initiative set-up by Iowa State University to help generate awareness about soil erosion.
Frank Eyhorn suggests that the adoption of organic farming practices could be the driving force needed to make global agriculture and food systems more sustainable, which includes improved soil quality amongst its associated benefits.
Addressing challenges in soil management and embracing opportunities for improving and promoting soil health is crucial for sustaining global our ecosystems, and aligns with so many of the Sustainable Development Goals.