At first blush, “Living Soil” may not be a term that gets you very excited, but consider this: 95% of all biodiversity on earth is in the soil. If we don’t have living soil, we don’t have a healthy planet or healthy food.
Regenerative Agriculture means a production system that grows food and healthy soil. If we don’t have all that soil life that is fed by the carbon from green plants and habitat from the roots of those plants, we don’t get healthy food. The more that soil can be protected year round by green growing plants, the more habitat and food there is for the organisms in the soil and the cooler the soil temperatures will be so the micro-organisms don’t shrivel up and die. The organisms in turn produce organic matter that feeds the plants and soaks up more water and carbon for a wonderful example of symbiotic relationships.
One scientist, Christine Jones in Australia, has been explaining these concepts on her website. In particular, she has done research that shows that with good grazing management the land, and all the life in the soil, responds favorably. In fact, one of the fastest and most economical ways to improve soil health is with animals because they are the ultimate multi-taskers. They can dung and urinate to fertilize the land, while doing a little grazing/pruning of plants to invigorate growth and provide more food for soil organisms through the die-back of the roots, and chip the soil surface to allow more rain to penetrate the soil.
Learn more about some of the Holistic Management practitioners improving soil health, like Gabe Brown, on HMI’s Soil and Conservation Page.
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