Deadline: 1 December 2014.
As a south Indian farmer said, “soil is the mother of agriculture, the mother of life”. And 2015 is the International Year of Soils. So now is an appropriate time to look again at soils that are so fundamental to agroecology and family farming. Soils are not only the foundation for agriculture, livestock production and forestry, they also supply clean water, capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide many other ecosystem services. However, these functions are jeopardised as many soils are becoming increasingly degraded.
And whereas research and policy often emphasise the use of chemical fertilizers to boost production, these by themselves cannot reverse the problems of degraded soils and poor crop yields in the long term, and may even make them worse in some cases. What is central is that the nutrient content of the soil says little about soil health, and whether the soil can actually sustain production over decades… Continue reading