One Inch of Topsoil
One inch of topsoil takes Great Nature over ten thousand years to produce. We can do this faster (see Bio-intensive Blog). Speeding up the process of creating topsoil using biological processes is what the Europeans call eco-functional intensification. What other examples are there of super-charging biological processes?
There is a lot of interest in agriculture being a way to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it long term in the soil. An article from the NY Times, called Can Dirt Save the Earth, from April 2018, details research done in northern California.
The researchers found that the addition of manure compost to legume and grass pasture crops caused the plants to take carbon from the air at an accelerated rate. The soil microbes then converted this carbon into organic matter instead of just gassing it off. This effect seemed to last years after the initial application of composted manure. Other research in a different article from 2020 also notes how soil microbes can be supercharged using deep rooted perennial grasses and legumes. These are truly astounding findings which offer real hope for taking excess carbon out of the atmosphere! Agriculture + Habitat Planting + Tree Planting, are all cost effective ways to reduce carbon in the air. Governments need to follow the science and invest where the most good will be done.
Speeding up natural processes within the biological realm is just being widely adopted by farmers and others as regenerative farming. Beneficial farming practices discovered by researchers have been adapted by growers and ranchers into something many farmers can apply to their operations.
Food security depends on using bio-intensive practices to produce more food on less land. Does it make sense to invest in young farmer food production capacity as food prices in the supermarkets rise sharply every year?