Soil, the essential organic material for the survival of all living organisms, is used for:
Soil provides nutrients and minerals for plants
Soil movement can be involved in surface mining, road building, and dam construction
Soil absorbs rainwater and releases it later
However, soil is being depleted
Culprits of Soil Depletion
- The modern agricultural methods removes nutrients from the soil. Although it is easier to farm, it deprives soil of the essential oxygen it needs. It also reduces penetration of rain into soil, thus causing excess that carried organic matter, microorganisms, and essential nutrients, to escape into lakes and rivers
- Over farming to meet the needs of the growing population today causes soil depletion because the land is not given time to restore its nutrients and thus, the soil does not have as many nutrients as before
- Erosion by wind, a natural process, causes soil depletion due to the finer soil particles being blown away by the wind and leaving the coarse and heavy particles behind.
- Fertilizers cause soil depletion if overdosed due to the ammonia in them
- Genetically Modifies Organisms have declining nutritional content in them because their ability to uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their growth
- Salinization causes soil depletion when salt is accumulated in the topsoil
Impact of Soil Depletion
- Decrease in soil productivity and soil quality
- Decrease in soil availability as arable land may quickly become barren
- Poor quality vegetation
- Lower rates of photosynthesis results in reduced carbon dioxide to oxygen conversation
- Less food for the growing world population will most likely result in a food shortage and thus, higher prices for food
- Health affects as explained in this video:
Sustainable Development of Soil
Soil remineralization creates fertile soil by returning minerals to the soil the same way that the Earth does and some of its advantages include:
- Increase of the nutrient intake of plants
- Increase of the growth of microorganisms
- Enhancement of flavor in crops
By alternating fields between growing seasons, the land in which crops are grown will be given enough time to restore the essential nutrients it is supposed to gain for additional agriculture to grow.
Although adding minerals is too expensive, corporations can be socially responsible by investing money into adding more minerals into the soil.
Although soil protection is receiving less attention than the protection of air and water, the Government should ensure that soil protection receives equal priority in future.
The Importance of Sustainable Food Systems
Sustainability of soil is talked about mostly from 4:20 - 6:15