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Fig.: Soil Atlas 2015
Heinrich Boll Foundation

HUMUS & SOIL LIFE

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VIDEOS

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PHOTOS

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LITERATURE

THE INVISIBLE ECOSYSTEM

At least centuries, rather millennia and millions of years pass before what we call soil develops.

The near-surface soil layer with the mostly dark, brown-black color - the humus - is teeming with life. In addition to earthworms, woodlice, spiders, mites and springtails, there are more microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi or amoebas) in a handful of soil than there are people on earth. These creatures decompose dead plant parts, convert them into humus and distribute this fertile substance in the soil. At around 1,500 billion tons, humus binds almost three times more carbon than the entire living biomass, i.e. all living things including trees, shrubs and grasses together

The "Green Revolution" began as early as the 1960s. Intensive land use with high-yielding varieties, the use of fertilizers and pesticides , and artificial irrigation increased the yield per area in the short term. But through the use of these 'modern' techniques, 45% of Europe's soils have lost a significant amount of organic matter, particularly humus and soil organisms. With decreasing humus content, the natural fertility of the fields decreases, which cannot be compensated for by any fertilization. T he soil structure decays to lifeless substrate. In addition, the use of heavy agricultural machinery compacts the soil, disrupting its natural functions:

  • the habitat function (species diversity, biodiversity),

  • the regulatory function (water intake, storage, purification, decomposition of pesticides) as well as

  • the production function (nutrient exchange, natural fertility).

Irrespective of this, the consumption of mineral fertilizers has increased more than fivefold over the past 50 years due to land use driven by purely economic interests, although mineral fertilizers are expensive and devour high agricultural subsidies.

LITERATUR

videos

VIDEOS

The Best4Soil network offers an introduction to the topic of humus and its advantages in agriculture

Bayerischer Rundfunk - Our country
Flower strips - useful or just cosmetic

Research Institute for Organic Farming FIBL 'Flower Strips for Pollinators and Other Beneficiaries'
and 'Biodiversity in the Agricultural Landscape'

Planet Health Cure
Soil is a living organism

Soil organisms - Edapro GmbH

PHOTOS

FOTOS

literature

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Research Institute for Organic Farming FIBL Leaflet No.1652
'Reduced tillage'

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Heinrich Böll Foundation - Soil Atlas 2015
A global situation report on
the invisible ecosystem

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Fig.: Soil Atlas 2015
Heinrich Boll Foundation
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