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‘A poor man’s rainforest’: Why we need to stop treating soil like dirt

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  1. monarda
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    Topsoil is where 95% of the planet’s food is grown and, like rainforests, is extremely fragile; it takes more than 100 years to build 5mm of soil, and moments to destroy it, according to the Royal Society.

    Unfortunately, humans have been treating soil like dirt, losing it 50 to 100 times faster than we are able to rebuild it.

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    Soils hold twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, and when soil degrades, the carbon is released. In the 30 years from 1978, the soil in the UK’s croplands lost 10% of the carbon it could store.

    “Like ‘canaries in the coalmine’, when soil organisms begin to disappear, ecosystems will soon start to underperform, potentially hindering their vital functions for humankind,” researchers, led by Guerra, wrote in a paper published in Science that urged policymakers to take account of soil when considering conservation priorities.

    “If we do not protect soils for the next generations, future above-ground biodiversity and food production cannot be guaranteed,” the 29 soil scientists warned.

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