soil biodiversity News

  • Soil nitrogen increased through greater plant biodiversity

    Increased plant biodiversity improves grassland soil quality by boosting its nitrogen levels, even in the absence of nitrogen-fixing plants, recent research has found. Previous research has shown that grasslands with higher biodiversity had higher levels of carbon and nitrogen. However, in the case of nitrogen it has been suggested that this was purely a result of increased numbers of ...

  • Grassy field margins enhance soil biodiversity

    Grass strips at field margins are almost as valuable as hedgerows in encouraging diversity of soil creatures, according to new research. Six metre wide margin strips increase the number and variety of species such as earthworms, woodlice and beetles, and may act as corridors between isolated habitats. The study analysed the presence of invertebrates of three main feeding types - soil ingesters ...

  • Soil biodiversity: functions, threats and tools for policy makers

    Human societies rely on the vast diversity of benefits provided by nature, such as food, fibres, construction materials, clean water, clean air and climate regulation. All the elements required for these ecosystem services depend on soil, and soil biodiversity is the driving force behind their regulation. With 2010 being the International Year of Biodiversity and with ...


    By European Commission

  • A new method for evaluating threats to soil biodiversity

    Little is known about the organisms that live within soil, although they play a vital role in the biological processes that support life on Earth. In a recent study, researchers calculated the relative risk of pressures caused by human activity on soil biodiversity in the EU, showing that intensive land use has the greatest impact. There is a lack of baseline data regarding soil biodiversity, ...

  • Sustainable Agriculture to Promote Biodiversity

    • Biodiversity affects key ecosystem services, such as the primary production of food for humans and the rest of nature, plus the recycling of nutrients and water. • One hectare of land contains a lot of biodiversity in the soil – equivalent to the weight of one cow of bacteria, two sheep of protozoa, and four rabbits of soil animals such as earthworms. The INSPIA* project is ...

  • Managing logging for biodiversity

    Forest management should safeguard biodiversity as well as focusing on harvesting timber, a new report from South East Asia argues. Despite many initiatives such as codes of practice, criteria and indicators and certification schemes, guidelines and standards remain vague and lack quantitative targets. Illegal logging, poor management and deforestation continue to cause severe environmental ...

  • Save the date: 12 February - Webinar on Soil Biodiversity and Carbon

    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Ramar Convention and Wetlands International invite government-nominated representatives and all interested participants in the African region to participate in a webinar on biodiversity and soil carbon on 12 February 2015. With this capacity building workshop we aim to build knowledge and expand the understanding of policy and ...


    By Wetlands International

  • Increasing diversity through crop rotation boosts soil microbial biodiversity and productivity

    Planting a variety of crop species in rotation in agricultural fields increases the diversity of soil microbes below ground, recent research has found. This in turn positively affects soil organic matter, soil structure and aids the healthy functioning of the soil. The researchers say that rotational diversity can help farmers to grow crops in a more sustainable way that promotes soil stability. ...

  • Soil biodiversity reduces nitrogen pollution and improves crops’ nutrient uptake

    Increased soil biodiversity can reduce nitrogen pollution, improve nutrient uptake by plants and even increase crop yields, new research suggests. The two-year study found that levels of nitrogen leaching from soil with an abundant soil life were nearly 25% lower than for soil with a reduced level of soil life. Practices which enhance soil biodiversity such as reduced tilling, crop rotation and ...

  • Plant bank to preserve biodiversity of Pacific crops

    The giant swamp taro, the orange-fleshed Fe'i banana and a coconut that grows to half a metre in length are among the native crop species to be saved in a major project that has begun across small islands in the Pacific. The Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) is coordinating the project in which 1,000 unique varieties of staple fruit and vegetables from 7,500 Pacific islands are being ...


    By SciDev.Net

  • Defra ministers endorse campaign to protect farmland biodiversity

    149/10 Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, Jim Paice, today announced that the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, an industry-led initiative which encourages farmers to voluntarily nurture wildlife on their land, is making progress and will continue, but farmers can still do more to ensure it continues to be successful. Those taking part in the campaign are helping to improve ...

  • Balanced approach to restoring farmland biodiversity shares and separates land

    It is possible to balance agricultural production with improved biodiversity on farmland, according to researchers. A new study suggests using a combination of land sharing techniques, which enhance biodiversity on existing farmland, with land separation techniques, which designate separate areas for conservation and farmland production. The expansion of agriculture and intensification of ...

  • Herbicide reduction can preserve crop yields as well as biodiversity benefits of weeds

    Pesticide-sparing approaches to farming do not have to compromise on crop yields, new research suggests. A study that explored the impact of reduced herbicide use across a variety of different farming contexts found that herbicideefficient systems could be just as productive as conventional systems — and more so than organic systems — whilst having other important environmental ...

  • Healthy soils for a healthy planet

    Healthy soils are vital in a world challenged by climate change. We need to decide how best to use land to provide food for a growing population and how it can be used to mitigate the effects of manmade emissions. The quality of soil must be maintained or restored if it is to provide its essential services: cycling nutrients, water and air, supporting biodiversity and acting as a substantial ...

  • SoCo: Sustainable agriculture and soil conservation

    The European Parliament has requested the European Commission to carry out a study on Sustainable Agriculture and Soil Conservation. Two Directorates of the EC are involved in this project: DG Agriculture and DG Joint Research Centre. The JRC participates in the project with two institutes: Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES: Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit and the Rural, ...


  • Critical Issues in Global Soil Health

    Soil health is rarely equated into discussions of climate change, environmental protection, and sustainable development. However, soils play such a vital role in the planet’s survival that life cannot exist without them. They provide the basis for food and fiber production; support a diversity of plant, animal, and microbial life; and regulate nutrient cycles and gas exchange with ...

  • International soil conference opens in Brisbane

    “It’s underfoot but often forgotten yet our soil resources are crucial to our very existence,” says the Chief of CSIRO Land and Water, Dr Neil McKenzie. “Any gardener or farmer knows that soil is an astonishing material. It’s the natural reactor in the landscape that forms the basis for our supply of food, clean water and biodiversity.” Australia is a net ...

  • Soil organisms aid crop productivity by increasing yields

    Soil-living bacteria and fungi can be used to boost crop yields by more than 50 per cent without the use of fertilizers, an international research project has found. In combination with fertilizers, yields of key crops such as beans, can more than double, the scientists from seven countries discovered. The findings, the result of an international effort to unravel the mysteries of so-called ...

  • Climate change to disrupt soil nutrients in drylands

    The increased aridity expected this century as a result of climate change may disrupt the balance of key soil nutrients with a knock-on effect on soil fertility threatening livelihoods of more than two billion people, a study finds. The drop in nitrogen and carbon concentrations that occurs as soils become dryer could have ...


    By SciDev.Net

  • RECARE project to prevent and remediate soil degradation in Europe

    A growing world population has to deal with increasingly urgent issues of food security, flooding and drought, as well as soil pollution which threaten agricultural productivity and the environment. The answer to all these urgent issues could rest in the soil. Soil is vital to supporting food production as well as the filtering of water consumed by humans and plants. In addition, soil ...

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