Healthy soils are essential for healthy plant growth, human nutrition, ecosystem services such as water filtration and supporting a landscape that is more resilient to the impacts of drought, flood or fire. Healthy soil helps to regulate the Earth’s climate and stores more carbon than all of the world’s forests combined. Healthy soils are fundamental to our survival.
However, many of our land management practices, including agriculture, forestry and fire, have caused significant damage to our landscape, resulting in widespread degradation and depletion of soil health. Soil carbon content has been severely reduced, due to a lack of organic matter, and resultant water-holding capacity is poor. Nutrient availability for plants and animals has been compromised by poor soil health and structure and the ever-increasing reliance on chemical inputs.
This then compromises the health and wellbeing of every one of us world-wide.
WE MUST CHANGE OUR LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
For the past 10,000 and particularly the past 100 years, we have drastically compromised soil health for yield and profitability, and have:
- mined and degraded soils and natural resources from our land and ocean
- cleared 75% of the earth’s primary forests
- depleted over 8 billion hectares of our former deep organic soils
- created over 4 billion hectares of man-made deserts
- applied ever increasing amounts of chemical fertiliser particularly in monoculture farming enterprises, and,
- in the process, used 150% of the sustainable resources of the planet*.
We can restore our soil health - the physical, mineral and biological condition of the soil - through a combination of sound water management and a biodiversity of functional vegetation.
Together, supported by the constant flow of solar energy, soil, water and vegetation are the process drivers for a healthy regenerative landscape. We must change our current practices and learn to manage these resources in an integrated way.