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Soil Care Network Newsletter

December 2020

by Thirze Hermans, in collaboration with Emma Lietz Bilecky, Michiel van de Pavert, and Anna Krzywoszynska

Soil Research

  • Citizen science can compliment national and international soil monitoring efforts, argue the authors of this new paper. Their review of existing soil citizen science platforms shows that there is a good resource for achieving this objective already in place.

  • Critical Physical Geography gives instructors cross-disciplinary tools to investigate intrinsically entangled socio-environmental phenomena. This paper presents an important argument for the need to teach CPG, and a great example of how this can be achieved.

  • Soil erosion is a persistent problem in East Africa. It can be successfully tackled by supporting community-led decision making with social and natural science research, this case study demonstrates.

World Soil Day (December 5) releases and news

  • A new report on the state of knowledge on soil biodiversity was compiled by 300 scientists. They describe the worsening state of soils as at least as important as the climate crisis and destruction of the natural world above ground. “Global soils underpin life but the future looks ‘bleak’.” See here for the Guardian article  and Science article on the report. 


  • Need some soil inspiration? Check out these soil quotes that were collected for World Soil Day.


  • To celebrate World Soil Day, the journal of Ecology released a collection of the latest research. 

  • The FAO has released the winners of the Soil biodiversity book contest. Make sure to check out these short books with beautiful illustrations and short engaging texts to learn about soil biodiversity.

Soil Video & Film

  • Check out this short video by Bridget Emmett on the BBC on why “Soil is one of the most amazing things on Earth”. Did you know many antibiotics are based on soil processes? Or how important earthworms are?


  • Soil Science Australia has made videos on how to check and identify your soils. 


  • Watch roots from various plants compete for areas and grow underground in this nice short clip (with explanatory text). The video shows that “a plant on its own will sprout ever more roots around its base while at the same time extending its reach underground in all directions. But with another plant nearby, it shifts root production to focus more on roots nearby, and avoids overlap with its competition, maximizing how many nutrients it gets


  • Like music? A song about rebuilding soil health has been released here.

Soil Initiatives


  • has been launched on the 4th of December, to create better access to soil information of economic, societal and ecological aspects, and a knowledge sharing community. 



  • A new interactive platform called Soil Revealed was developed to map the carbon sequestration potential worldwide.



  • No soil needed anymore?! An architect has developed a hydroponic planter so you can grow fruit and vegetables at home without soil.

  • Black US farmers reclaiming the soil. A fledgling movement towards Black-owned farms seeks to address the lack of land ownership and fresh food in many communities of color.”


Soil Biodiversity

  • Biologists summarize 520 studies and report the best way to fertilize soil.”




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