Soil Care Network Newsletter

April 2021

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

Soil Research

  • There is mounting evidence that pesticides do serious harm to soil organisms, drawing attention to the need to focus on protecting biology and not jus soil structure as we develop more sustainable forms of growing food.

  • “Long-term carbon sinks in marsh soils of coastal Louisiana are at risk to wetland loss,” a new paper argues for protecting and restoring carbon storage in wetland soils, using historical mapping data, deep soil cores, and soil carbon accumulation rates to demonstrate the importance of considering historical habitats when evaluating a coastal areas' long-term ability to store carbon in the soil.

  • The relationship between soils and authoritarianism is often noted. This great new paper investigates the relationship between authoritarian governments in Italy and Brazil and the specific issue of soil fertility, and their production of “improved” soils, from both political and technological perspectives. A fascinating look at the intersections between political and ecological regimes.

  • Did you know that sand is one of the most exported materials in the world, and that there is a 'sand crisis' looming due to the boom in urban construction? This short paper explores interesting empirical and theoretical aspects of the role of sand as an object of social scientific investigation.

Soil news

  • Human composting, or “terramation” is taking off at the world’s first large-scale “body-to-soil facility” in Washington, after the state approved of “natural organic reduction” last year.

  • UC Davis has updated their SoilWeb apps which can be used to access NRCS soil survey data

Soil happenings

  • The FAO held its Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity this month, bringing science and policy together in to review the status and challenges of soil biodiversity conservation and sustainable use; you can catch up on three days’ worth of fantastic talks.

  • A three day conference organised by the The University of Grenoble and Inrae "Soils and the underground in promises of socio-ecological transitions" will be held 9-11 June (online), and bring together a variety of approaches to soils and the underground situated within the Environmental Humanities and social sciences. The conference is in French, with keynotes in English.

Soil Talks, Walks, and Musings

  • If you fancy going on a digital soil dig, Dr. Rebecca Lybrand at the University of Arizona has been producing fantastic dig-along videos on her soil research sites