Understanding soil could help tide over climate changes

February 10th, 2011 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) The lowly soil is often overlooked when it comes to addressing climate change and population growth. A team of scientists say soil is an essential piece of the biosphere and understanding it could help us tide over climate change.

Depletion of soil has hastened the collapse of at least one society, the Greeks, and contributed to economic hardship as recently as the last century in the Great Plains of the US.

“A better understanding of soils is needed to help us weather the changes,” said soil scientist Cesar Izaurralde of the Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park in the US, the Soil Science Society of America Journal reports.

Soil provides the basis for food and fibre production. It supports a diversity of plant, animal, and microbial life, it regulates nutrient cycles and gas exchange with the atmosphere. It cultures our inner feelings for home, for place, for renewal of spirit.

For example, feeding the burgeoning population will require planning to protect the soil and environment, and managing soil can help people use dwindling pools of freshwater more wisely, according to a College Park statement.

Using soils to recycle biological wastes has the potential to replenish our invaluable renewable resources. Finally, soil is the skin of the planet Earth and as such must be viewed as a global resource managed locally.

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