The Week in Soil

New research from Rothamsted challenges the value of burying carbon in the ground to halt climate change – and with it the carbon sequestration target of four parts per 1000 (4P1000).

The University of Manchester is redeveloping its Botanical Experimental Grounds and using greenhouse technologies to put it at the forefront of advanced research into food security, soil biodiversity, and climate change mitigation.

One ecosystem they might struggle to emulate in Manchester is Chile’s Atacama desert – (where it rains once a decade) – but even here, exceptionally hardy strains of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes survive despite punishing dryness, damaging ultraviolet radiation, and extreme saltiness.

But they might need to be mindful of stumbling across the plague – bacteria for which could be lying dormant in common soil - while they are down there…

Michael Gove berated the water indstry this week for their tax affairs – but also for the failure of their environmental record – pollution, fixing leaks and preventing flooding.

Reversing declines in soil health and water quality within a profitable farming business was on the agenda of this week’s 2018 Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Allerton Project Soil and Water Conference.

Farmers in Devon and Cornwall have been reminded by the Environment Agency of the importance of soil management to prevent flooding in the area.  Worth bearing in mind when the thaw finally comes.

And finally, this week its Alan Titchmarsh’s turn to remind gardeners not to neglect their soil…

SSA News

Invitations have gone out for our parliamentary event, which will give a soil-focussed response to the 25 Year Environment Plan. More than 100 people have signed up for the event which takes place at Portcullis House on 13 March and will ask whether the Plan provides grounds for optimism or a barren landscape.

Today the collaborative initiative from CEH, NIAB, AHDB, Soil Security Programme and SSA takes place in Leicester despite the snow. Academics and practitioners are coming together with the aim of defining the underlying principles and detailed proposals for practice for on-farm soil monitoring.