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HOW SOILS SUPPORT LIFE

Posted on 2 November 2016
HOW SOILS SUPPORT LIFE
Former United States President Franklin D Roosevelt said: "The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself". This is absolutely true. The soil is at the root (pun intended) of nearly everything we experience in modern day life.

Did you know that soils contribute greatly to the twenty-four recognised Ecosystem Services?

As human populations increase our demands on soils, especially for food and raw materials, are intensifying. Industrialisation and urbanisation also lead to continuing demands on soils.

"Many of these stem from the abuse of the environment. Soil buffering and transformation capacities are used to smooth out, or cover up, damage by humans." British Soil Society

Unfortunately, we are making large demands on soils to process our often toxic waste. Sewage sludge and other material from intensive livestock production units are spread over and ploughed into soils, & pesticides & herbicides from conventional agriculture are also blended within the soil matter.

What's interesting is that the microbes within the soil can incorporate these materials, rendering them harmless or even productive. Soil is even used to restore contaminated and damaged areas as a result of industry and mining. Soils cover, adsorb, detoxify and  mitigate effects of contaminants & the revegetation of these areas also assists in their replenishment.

"Rainwater runoff from roofs and asphalt can be heavy and irregular. Management of unsealed soils is important for flood reduction. Increasing human production of CO2 may be countered by managing soils to increase their organic matter content, thus storing carbon." British Soil Society

Being soil, underneath our feet, this life-giving force often goes unappreciated in today's society.

According to the British Soil Society soil is responsible for the following:

Soils provide not only the surface on which we live but also a building material

Across the world, soil has been and is still used as a primary building material from cob. Houses on the west coast of England, adobe built Pueble homes in the southwestern United States of America to rammed earth huts in Africa. One-half of the world population (~ 3 billion people) live or work in buildings constructed of soil.

Soils provide the basis of the agricultural and forestry industries

The world's population is expected to expand by 50% to more than 9 billion within the lifespan of today's children feeding all these people will rely on good soil management and care of our soil resources.

Soils can act as a giant sponge storing water and preventing flooding

Some soils can store in excess of 400 mm of rainfall in the 1st m of soil this information helps engineers control and assess flooding risk, however poor management resulting in compaction can lead to unexpected flooding.

Soils are efficient 'cleansing agents' and help protect water and air from the worst effects of many pollutants
All the water we drink will have passed through the soil, however, we need to take care that we are not exceeding the capacity of some soils to absorb and "lock away" harmful pollutants and thereby become damaged themselves.

Some soils store huge amounts of carbon

It is estimated that there are 15 gigatonnes (15 thousand million) of carbon in the world's soils three times more than in all vegetation and forests. Current climate warming may accelerate the release of soil carbon into the atmosphere therefore speeding up the climate warming process.

Soils make a substantial contribution to biodiversity

Soil provides a vital habitat for many forms of life ranging from microbes to earthworms and moles. It also provides an interface for all other forms of life.

Soil is essentially a non-renewable resource!

How to start reestablishing the world's healthy soil!

This is one of the reasons why we at UFG are so passionate about what we do! By actively taking part in restoring soils through effective composting, non-invasive farming & intelligent, living gardening, you can start to re-establish the health of the soil in your environment. By creating healthy ecological microcosms across the world, we can actively take part in restoring the world's soil health.

It could be that the humble green thumb provides the answers in the future; by conserving valuable soil microbes through organic gardening, these populations may be a source of widespread medicine for our sick soils around the world!

Help us help you start working on the world's soil today 1300 799 568

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