Insights into Soil Fertility
Soils are the source of all life on terrestrial earth. They provide a living matrix that regulates the cycles of every ecosystem on the planet. In consideration of this and the current state of our agricultural land, the UN denoted 2015 the International Year of Soils.
Healthy soils are central to every aspect of our lives: food, fiber, fuel, clean water, clean air, medicine, the quality of life in our cities and rural areas; and, increasingly, we are finding out about the central role of soils in mitigating the dire effects of climate change.
When the Dust Bowl turned 3 million people into environmental refugees in the 1930s because of soil depletion, President Roosevelt pushed legislation through congress to create the Soil Conservation Service. When he signed the bill, Roosevelt said, "The history of every nation is written in the way it cares for its soil."
Roosevelt's words apply to the situation we now face on a much larger scale. Our survival as a species depends on soil fertility. It takes 500 years to produce 2 cm of soil. Its vanishing faster than we humans can replenish it. To feed ourselves we must first feed the soil with organic nutrients that sustain soil rather than chemicals that deplete our ulitmate natural living resource and explore agro-ecological models of farming that use cover crops wisely. The International Year of Soils should be renewed every year until we establish soil sustinability.