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7 May 2020

This Week was Compost Awareness Week, following hot on the heels of last month’s Peat Free April. Our friends at Agricology have provided this information leaflet on the effect of compost on nutrients, soil health and crop production. Find many more resources by following #compostawarenessweek.

The FAO Land & Water division has released it’s latest bulletin, which includes a policy brief on integrated agriculture water management and health, a series of upcoming seminars from the Global Soil Partnership and others, access to an online seminar ‘the Recarbonisation of Soil’, a photo/video competition celebrating soil biodiversity and much more news.

Researchers have studied two agricultural soils from Sri Lanka to develop a tool to accurately estimate gas diffusion in aggregated soils, in order to provide models to quantify the gas exchange between soil and atmosphere with respect to different land use and water management practices. The development has implications for the understanding agricultural soils’ GHG emissions.

Another study considers the relationship between monsoon rainfall and soil organic stocks on a millennial timescale across a Ganges river basin. The results suggest that future hydroclimate changes in tropical regions are likely to accelerate soil carbon destabilization, further increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

A start-up in China is using a microbe consortium to prevent the uptake of toxic heavy metals by plants, break down pollutants in the soil and support good bacteria growth to ultimately restore soil fertility.

And Japan’s Environment Ministry is due to begin a trial to determine the safety of food crops grown on land contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima incident. The action is controversial, with many objecting due to fears that reuse of the soil will only spread contamination.

Soil pores hold the key to stability for desert soils. New research in to the implications of disturbing desert soils must be taken in to account when considering the spread of populations in to arid environments, as well as development of solar and wind farms.

The EU plans to grow the organic farming sector in order to support biodiversity. Its potential target for ¼ agricultural land to be farmed organically and a 50% reduction of chemical pesticide use by 2030 is expected to be outlined in the forthcoming Biodiversity Strategy.