soil diversity News

  • African soil diversity mapped for the first time

    A team of international experts has drawn up the Soil Atlas of Africa — the first such book mapping this key natural resource — to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use. They say that despite soil's importance, most people in Africa lack knowledge about it, partly because ...


    By SciDev.Net

  • Plant diversity: the secret to more nitrogen and carbon in soil

    Plants play a key role in soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) accumulation. New research suggests that plant diversity may have an important role to play in stimulating C and N storage in some soils. The findings suggest ways to improve carbon sequestration in grasslands and increase biomass production, for example for biofuel crops on nitrogen limited soils. Soil could be an important carbon sink ...

  • 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. ...

  • OPINION: Don`t sweep away crop diversity

    Anywhere you go in Malawi you find people sweeping the ground clean-floors, sidewalks, bare dirt around homes-even throughout small farms and gardens. Danielle Nierenberg visits Kristof Nordin's permaculture garden in Malawi Sweeping soil makes everything look tidy, but it causes major damage, making it vulnerable to erosion and nutrient loss. Not removing organic matter around crops has proven ...


    By Worldwatch Institute

  • Deep ploughing reduces diversity and number of earthworms

    Less invasive soil preparation methods in farming, such as harrowing, have a positive impact on the numbers, biomass, and species richness of earthworms, unlike conventional ploughing, according to new research. The long-term study compared the results of five different methods of soil preparation on agricultural land in Germany over a ten-year period. Earthworms play a major role in the ...

  • CAP reform and crop diversity can be springboard for growth

    Linking CAP payments to crop diversity represents a growth opportunity for farmers, according to anaerobic digestion (AD) specialist EnviTec Biogas UK. Under the new rules, 30 per cent of direct payments will depend on demonstrating environmentally-friendly farming practices – including crop diversification. Full details are yet to emerge, but “greening” the CAP is likely to ...


    By EnviTec Biogas AG

  • Plastic mulching reduces farmland bird numbers and diversity

    Using plastic sheeting to encourage early growth of crops reduces the number and diversity of farmland birds, new research from Poland suggests. The study shows that this effect continues even after plastic has been removed. Plastic ‘mulching’ is the use of sheets of plastic to cover vegetables after sowing; this controls weeds and increases the soil temperature, allowing faster ...

  • Plastic mulching reduces farmland bird numbers and diversity

    Using plastic sheeting to encourage early growth of crops reduces the number and diversity of farmland birds, new research from Poland suggests. The study shows that this effect continues even after plastic has been removed. Plastic ‘mulching’ is the use of sheets of plastic to cover vegetables after sowing; this controls weeds and increases the soil temperature, allowing faster ...

  • Peanuts: more genetically diverse than expected

    Virginia-type peanuts, the big ones sold in the shell or used in cocktail nut mixes, are more genetically variable than previously assumed, according to a new study from North Carolina State University. Before now, cultivated peanuts showed very little variability for molecular markers, leading some to conclude that there was virtually no genetic variation in the species. However, anyone who has ...

  • Choice of tree species and site can increase plant diversity in plantation forest

    Careful choice of tree species and sites could transform plantations into refuges for woodland plant diversity, new research from Ireland suggests. Plantations of native species on or near historic woodland and those with adequate light levels below the tree canopy were found to support more plant species. Europe’s forests cover 45% of the land area, and provide important habitat ...

  • Maintaining food crop diversity: an interview with Gary Paul Nabhan

    Guest author Fred Bahnson interviewed Gary Paul Nabhan, a lecturer, food and farming advocate, folklorist, and conservationist who lives and farms in the U.S. Southwest. Nabhan discusses his new book, the future of agriculture, and how 1,400-year-old Lebanese farming techniques influence his land ethic. Tell me about your latest book, Where Our Food Comes From-Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's ...


    By Worldwatch Institute

  • Rediscovering sound soil management

    At the same time that demand for food is soaring along with the world’s population, the soil’s ability to sustain and enhance agricultural productivity is becoming increasingly diminished and unreliable. Fortunately, it’s not too late to restore our soil resources. What it will take, say the editors and contributors to a new book, Soil Management: Building a Stable Base for ...

  • Reinforcement of soil by plant roots

    Landslides have devastating impacts across the globe resulting in the loss of life and the destruction of billions of dollars in infrastructure. Soil erosion from wind and water threatens food production, pollutes the environment, and can make living in major cities such as Beijing almost unbearable during dust storms. Just like the great dust bowl of the 1930s, many instances of soil erosion and ...

  • 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 ...

  • Past, present and future of soil sciences

    The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is reporting the results of a recent survey of trends related to the soil science profession. The results suggest that employment opportunities in soil and related sciences are increasing, and students, academics, and employers have a positive outlook for the future of soil science. Despite these positive findings, the survey identified areas to be ...

  • 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 ...

  • Agronomists, crop and soil scientists convene in Long Beach

    What would be the impact of the next green revolution on global food security? How can soil help lessen the impacts of climate change? To what extent can biofuels help make America energy independent? These topics and others of public interest will be discussed at the International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science ...

  • Alternative agricultural practices combine productivity and soil health

    The progressive degradation of useful soils for agriculture and farm animal husbandry is a growing environmental and social problem, given that it endangers the food safety of an increasing world population. This fact prompted the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development – Neiker-Tecnalia – to design a series of research projects in order to evaluate alternative agricultural ...


    By ScienceDaily

  • 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

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