What are the effects of soil degradation?

26/09/2017

We’re constantly reminded of the causes and effects of pollution. Often, it’s air pollution from anthropogenic sources like power plants and cars or natural sources like dust and methane. In recent years, light pollution has also been credited for affecting health and disrupting ecosystems.

Soil pollution, by contrast, is seldom discussed. When the importance of soil on our everyday life is considered, this fact is shocking. Whether it’s the food we eat or where we live, soil is an essential element to life. The importance of soil is quite literally beneath many of us.

The threats to soil life

The degradation of soil has many serious consequences and has become a global crisis. Firstly, a decline in soil quality results in the destruction of land. We’re losing acres of land because of soil erosion and contamination.

Soil degradation can also eradicate the soil’s ability to hold water. Over time, this can result in flooding.

Understandably, the impact of soil degradation has devastating consequences on crop production too.

However, the methods used commonly in crop production also degrades the soil. The overuse of agricultural activities, including the use of fertilisers and pesticides, and modern tillage systems, contaminate and poison soil.

Tillage of fields also causes soil erosion. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. While we can make predictions on what will happen in the future, much is still worryingly unknown.

This, combined with global warming, gives a bleak impression of the future of soil fertility. As changes in temperature and moisture arise, the composition of soil is altered. This impedes on the types of crops that grow in different climates. It’s also having a profound effect on rainfall patterns, which in turn results in flooding as the soil cannot hold water, or, conversely, severe drought.

Solutions for improving soil fertility

With the threats to soil life made clear, the next step for farmers and scientists is to discover ways of regenerating soil. A key factor in this is moving away from intensive industrial farming to more ecological methods, like no-tillage, crop rotation and organic fertiliser.

Healthy soil is vital to the future of crop production. The New York Times also reports that it could hold the cure for some illnesses as scientists search soil for a new class of antibiotics – from soil microbes – to deal with antibiotic-resistant diseases.

Making the restoration of soil fertility a priority is also key to endure the effects of climate change.

SafeRock® Minerals is a unique blend of minerals and nutrients that has been developed to provide a natural solution to this global crisis. As a mineral soil conditioner certified for use in organic agriculture, SafeRock® Minerals has improved the nutrient efficiency of the soil, and improved the quality and quantity of produce.

Trials around the world have revealed better plant growth, water infiltration and retention, increased yield, improved long term soil quality, and reduced loss of nutrients in soil.

You can find out more about how SafeRock® Minerals can reverse the effects of climate change and restore soil fertility here.