Wednesday, February 13, 2008


"Soil scientist Daniel Richter at Duke University in Durham, N.C., would agree. In an announcement of his work last month, he explained that human-induced changes to the world's soils are enough in themselves to justify saying we have entered the "Anthropocene (or man-made) age." He notes, "With more than half of all soils on Earth now being cultivated for food crops, grazed, or logged for wood, how to sustain Earth's soils is becoming a major scientific and policy issue."

He adds, "If humanity is to succeed in the coming decades, we must interact much more positively with the great diversity of Earth's soils."

Dr. Richter cites Africa as an example of this challenge. There, widespread farming without nutrient recycling threatens continent-wide soil infertility. He adds that, globally, "expanding cities, industries, mining, and transportation systems all impact soil in ways that are far more permanent than cultivation." Richter is part of an international group that has set up the first global long-term soil research network. This will help develop the knowledge needed for worldwide soil management." (Thanks D.)

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