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Last Updated : 2020-05-14 14:20:36
More than one third of soil is endangered, according to a recent UN report leaving only 7.5% of earth's soil suitable for agriculture. If we don't stop the decline now, then all the farmable soil could be gone in 60years.Since soil grows 95% of our food, soil degradation is a huge problem.
Simultaneously our understanding of its importance to human has grown significantly. A single gram of soil contains 100 million bacteria,as well as viruses,fungi and various minerals. This implies that soil is the source of nearly all our existing antibiotics and could be used for fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria. Microorganisms within soil digest dead animals and plants and lock in their carbon contents, holding three times the carbon content as that of entire atmosphere. Soil also stores water used for preventing flood damage.
If soil loses this ability to perform this specific tasks, human race could be in big trouble. And once this has happened, it may take thousands of years of soil to recover. Agriculture is far the most concerned problem. In the wild, when plants grow, they use nutrients from soil and deposit it back to the soil after their death. Soil becomes less fertile over the period of time. To overcome this difficulties, methods such as varying the types of crops grown or leaving the field uncultivated for a season are used.
These practices became irrelevant as population grew and agriculture had to be run on more commercial lines. Solution to this problem came from the manufacturing of ammonium nitrate.Synthetic fertilozers were used ny farmers on their field since long ago. Over the past few decades, it has become clear that synthetic fertlizers releases a great amount of nitrous oxide resulting in air pollution.Excess amount of fertilizers in soil damages the soil itself turing into acidic and salty nature.
However measures like this are not enough to solve global soil degradation. To overcome certain difficulties like soil degradation, UN has created GLOBAL SOIL MAP PROJECT under which researchers from nine different countries are working together with aim to have mapped soils worldwide to a depth of 100metres, resulting freely accessible to all.
But this is the first of many steps.Like the idea of carbon neutrality, it is an easily understood target that can help shape expectations and encourage actions. For soils on brink , that may be too late. An immediate creation of protected zones for endangered soils is required. The difficulty is to define the areas that are to be conserved :areas where the greatest soil diversity is present? Or unspoilt soil which can act as a future benchmark of quality?
Whatever we do, if we want soils to survive, we need to take action now.
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