When we talk about solutions to the current climate and global environmental crisis, one vital component is often overlooked: soils. Billions of years ago, the first soils paved the way for life on land. Now, this unassuming terrain beneath our feet underpins a multitrillion-dollar, global agricultural industry and provides food for billions of humans, as well as countless wild and domestic species. Soil is central to our relationship with the land and plays a vital role in nearly every key Earth system process responsible for keeping conditions on our planet stable. Civilization, humanity, and other terrestrial life are all dependent on good, ongoing soil health for their survival. Soil forms the foundation of all terrestrial ecosystems, wild and cultivated. The growth of crops like lettuce, pictured here, depends on the geology, climate and biology of the soil. Image by Julie via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Healthy soils are biodiversity hotspots, providing a home to diverse communities of bacteria, fungi and invertebrates, many of which are beneficial, and even vital, to plants. Soils hold 80% of all the carbon stored on land, making them key to meeting global greenhouse gas emissions targets. And they are important to the freshwater cycle, storing water and filtering out pollutants. But soils are in global crisis. An estimated 75 billion metric tons of soil is lost each year due to erosion from arable land, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In the process, large amounts of greenhouse gases are released, and vital…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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