Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Protecting our Living Soil

While most of us seldom think about our relationship with the soil, we all depend on soil for our daily survival. In generation after generation, it is important to bring attention back to the central theme – the living soil sustains all life on earth. Without the soil, nothing lives. Our conservation district works to protect healthy soils that in turn support a healthy environment, and healthy environments support healthy life.

Modern farmers and ranchers who practice soil conservation are doing their part to keep the living soil alive. Lessons from the past, such as the catastrophic “Dust Bowl” of the 1930s, have shown what can happen when the topsoil is not protected from wind and water erosion. Today, private land managers employ a host of conservation practices, such as minimum tillage, to protect the topsoil that feeds the nation.

Soil health becomes more important when you learn that millions of beneficial organisms are going through their daily routine of eating, breathing, living, and dying in the soil. One cup of fertile soil may contain as many bacteria as there are people on Earth. In one acre—an area about the size of a football field—there may be a ton or more of microscopic bacteria. That’s equal to the weight of two full-grown cows!

We eat the food, drink the water, breath the air, and enjoy the views, but only a few of us walk the fields and forests on a regular basis and understand what those lands need from us in order to sustain the living soil. However, the district can suggest three things each of us can do in our own backyards to be better stewards of our soil resources:
• Protect the soil from wind or water erosion by keeping healthy plants growing on the surface.

• Restore and maintain organic matter in the soil, such as grass clippings or tree leaves (compost).

• Protect soil life by using the least amounts and least toxic materials to control pest problems.

No comments:

Post a Comment