Soil Health

Soil Health

The world is facing the grave reality of climate change. Floods and droughts are both becoming common. The time is not far when the world may be dealing with severe water and food shortages due to the menace of climate change unless we take the right steps.

The amount of carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere. As a result of increased CO2 and other Greenhouse gasses, the temperature of the atmosphere is rising.  

Climate.gov

Soil is a vital component of the carbon cycle. It is the second-largest carbon pool or sink that absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxides. But soil is also the most significant source of increasing levels of GHG in the atmosphere. This happens when we disturb the carbon cycle, adding more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Soil Organic Component (SOC) is the amount of carbon that soil retains due to the partial decomposition of organic matter (Cornell Institute). Most agricultural land soils have less SOC implying that more carbon goes back into the atmosphere contributing to global warming.

Soil erosion is another reason that increases the amount of carbon dioxide. Therefore, there is no denying that Soil has an essential role in accelerating or decreasing the pace of climate change. Healthier soils and sustainable use of land can combat climate change from the ground up.

The consistent conversion of grassland and forestland into cropland enhances carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Why do we Need Healthy Soil?

We need healthy soil because all of the human population and ecosystem rely on it. Moreover, the health of the soil is essential because it can mitigate the effects of climate change.  

  • Increase carbon sequestration

Soil health improves soil carbon sequestration. The surface of such soil is vegetated. Thus, it requires fewer chemical inputs for growing crops, promoting rotation of crops and biodiversity.

  • Prevent soil erosion

Healthy soils are less likely to experience soil erosion. Healthy soil can store water like a sponge. Thus, it becomes saturated and holds the ground firmly, reducing the loss of fertile topsoil.  Its ability to keep water also reduces the loss of nutrients, hence improving food production.  Consequently, helping the crop systems to endure famines and floods better.

  • For the sustainability of living species

Furthermore, chances of natural hazards or drastic climate change are less due to the healthy soil. So, the threat to the sustainability of living species reduces significantly.  

  • Regulation of the water

Soil manages the direction of rainwater, snowmelt, and irrigation water. It filters the rainwater and saves it for the plant’s utilization. The surplus water is reallocated to either nearby water bodies or groundwater, preventing floods.  Healthy soil is more prepared to maintain dynamic ecosystem services such as the

hydrological and nutrient cycles,

  • Maintain the temperature

The wet or dense soil absorbs heat and regulates the temperature of the surrounding areas. That’s why the climate of a desert is scorching because it contains dry or looser soil.

  • Contribute to agriculture

Last but not least, we need to take care of the soil because agricultural land constitutes the 7% area of the whole earth surface. Moreover, 7.6 billion people depend upon this 7% agricultural land. Therefore, we need to prevent false harvesting techniques as 24 billion tons of fertile soil is lost every year due to these practices.

Conclusion

Healthy soil supports more than a quarter of the earth’s biodiversity. Soil also plays an essential role in combating climate change. However, wrong farming practices can reduce its ability to act as a carbon sink. It is time to convert degraded soil and adopt soil conversion techniques to restore the health of the soil. Healthier practices can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions through agriculture and enhance carbon sequestration.

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