I had the opportunity to visit White Sands National Monument over Thanksgiving and it made me think once again about soil health and the power of roots. While the gypsum flats, once a giant lake, of White Sands probably doesn’t constitute soil, there are actually some plants growing out there. The sands shift constantly with the wind and the park has to plow the roads. As you walk the trails out there you can see some of the most incredible examples of “pedestaling.”
As can be seen in the picture to the left, this pedestal is at least 15 feet high as the roots of the skunkbush sumac hold the gypsum in place while the winds carve out the rest of the gypsum around, leaving a big crater.
These roots then tap down into water tables far below for the plant to survive. The roots bring the water up which is absorbed by the gypsum sand around the roots creating this hard pedestal that can endure the winds. Even smaller plants like Indian rice grass, alkali sacaton, and little bluestem can survive in this harsh environment because of their hardy root structure.
Healthy roots are critical to soil health as they are the habitat for soil micro-organisms and the conduit for food from the plant to those micro-organisms. The more roots, the more food and habitat. That’s why regenerative agriculturalists are growing cover crops, reducing tillage, and planning their grazing to keep more live roots in the soil year round.
To learn more about the power of roots, read this blog. To learn more about soil conservation, visit HMI’s Soil and Conservation page or visit our Free Downloads page to download your free e-book on Holistic Management.
A Season of Giving
At this time of the year, we often find ourselves counting our blessings while appreciating the gifts that we’ve been given.
Here at Holistic Management International, we’re no different. Here are just a few of the gifts that we’re grateful for:
The Gift of Healthy Land
Your gifts have put us on track to reach our 20/20 vision of 20 million additional acres of healthy land by the year 2020.
The Gift of Healthy Food
We have seen the Holistic Management community grow, supporting the work of creating healthy lands while producing the nutritious food that will feed communities across the globe.
The Gift of Knowledge
Your generous gifts have also allowed us to provide over $50,000 worth of scholarships since 2014.