Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Soil Loss Pushes Some Towards Agroforestry

Here's a sobering story from Al-Jazeera - but it's not all bad:

"While declining soil health is a global problem, many of the soils in critical condition are in the global South. Tropical soils are especially vulnerable, and when they're farmed, all kinds of problems can be expected: loss of essential nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients; washing away of already-thin topsoil; carbon depletion; crippling of the soil's ability to store water; buildup of salts and aluminum toxicity; acidification and perhaps most importantly, destruction of the many species of microorganisms needed for a robust soil ecosystem. When that has happened, farmers have still managed to produce harvests by pouring on synthetic fertilisers (if they can afford them.) Instead of restoring the soil, that renders it a more-or-less inert growth medium." (read the rest)

Interestingly, they're pointing to agroforestry as an answer. Maybe food forests are starting to catch on?

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