Soil Care Network Newsletter

June 2020

by Anna Krzywoszyńska

 

Research and projects

  • Measuring and defining soil health are an important challenge to the research and grower communities. This article suggests the concept of the ‘soil health gap’ – the gap between soil qualities in a soil’s ‘natural’ undisturbed state and under current land use. I’ll have a detailed read to understand how they conceptualise ‘native soil’!

  • A really interesting short article on the relevance of the capillary fringe – the area in the soil between air-filled pores and water-filled pores  - and on experimental methods of researching its behaviour.

  • Plastic pollution in soils is an increasing concern. This research conducted in the Antarctic found soil microplastics in the guts of collembolas, tiny soil animals; this suggests microplastics may be permeating terrestrial food webs.

  • A 20-year field experiment reveals crop rotations help to alleviate risks to soil and environmental health including increased acidification, nitrogen loss and greater nitrous oxide emissions.

Soil policy and social movements

  • The UN celebrated international Desertification & Drought Day, this year focusing on the destructive impact of human over-production and over-consumption, suggested to be the ‘leading cause of land degradation. The take-home message was a move towards global sustainable production of food, fibre and fuel.

  • In the UK, Sustain have published an excellent report "A Green and Pressured Land”, which discusses the many pressures on land in the UK and our use of land overseas, including the impact of agriculture and the types of food consumed. Their 8 recommendations include the need for all organisations, agencies, political parties and researchers to consider the whole land requirement and impacts when suggesting new land uses. 

  • The Global Landscapes Forum Conference was held at the beginning of June with participants from all over the world; you can read the outcome statement here, advocating One Health and landscape-based approaches, and the democratisation and decentralisation of knowledge.

Soil essays and long reads

Fun stuff!

  • The fantastic collective called Compost Mentis has just published their 1st Zine on Soil Care in Quarantine – you can order it here and support the Black Land and Spatial Justice fund

  • Missing the music? As part of Electric Dreams Online, the Queer Ecologies Collective is holding a Microbe Disco – “We invite you to join us for a multi-species & multi-generational virtual disco, offering a unique opportunity to meet your companion species, move with algae, moss, viruses, grass, skin, bark, poetry and other rhythmic delights under the microscope”. 15th of August on your screen, phone or tablet – pre-book here.

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