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05 March 2020

EFRA has launched an inquiry into the recent UK flooding events, asking ‘what can we learn?’ The consultation also focuses on the use of Natural Flood Management, including the integration of agricultural and environmental policies into government responses to future floods. Clearly, there is a role for land management and soil health here.

“Our gardens can play a vital role in alleviating the problems caused by periods of heavy rainfall” emphasises this article in the Times, which also offers tips for gardeners on how to protect soil from flooding and what to do when soil is waterlogged – with expert insight from Charles Dowding and Monty Don.

A new study which tracked 300,000 trees over 30 years has found the Amazon rainforest could shift from a carbon sink to a carbon source by as early as the mid-2030s. Deforestation, intensive farming and climate change are seriously impairing the forest’s ability to absorb carbon, and could lead to a dramatic acceleration of climate change and its impacts.

A 10 year study in America has found that cover crops categorically improve soil’s health for agriculture. It concludes that over the long-term cover crops should be seen as an investment in a farm’s future productivity. This piece goes a step further in suggesting that the resulting boost to the soil microbiome from cover cropping could be significant in increasing global sustainability of food production.

Researchers studying the impact of oil palm plantations on microfauna have found that soil biodiversity is much more active in suspended microhabitats than below ground, as dead leaves and detritus form soil-filled crevices between palm fronds which support and sustain soil life. The scientists stress this does not compensate for soil degradation below ground, but the knowledge will help farmers to develop more sustainable methods to offset the damage to soil biodiversity caused by oil palm agriculture.