December 5th marked World Soil Day which was started by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Only in 2013 did the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) endorse this day, making it recognizable on an international level.
World Soil Day celebrates and brings awareness to the benefits soil has for us and the environment such as growing food, regulating and supplying water, and serving as ecosystems for insects, bacteria, and other living beings. On December 5th, events like lectures and workshops were held worldwide. Issues like soil acidification, biodiversity loss, and compaction were discussed.
Contamination, climate change, and soil-borne diseases are just some of the factors adversely affecting soil health today however there are ways we can maintain soil health.
Soil Health Principles by Sustainable Farming Association
Less soil disturbance through the use of physical or chemical means can affect the microbiological communities living within it. Compaction by machinery, equipment operations, or pedestrians degrades the soil structure. This also affects water flow through the soil - the more compacted the soil, the harder it is for water to flow through it to reach plants. Instead, this water will run-off, speedening erosion effects and increasing flood frequency.
Compaction and disturbance can also reduce the numbers of bacteria and fungi which are needed to breakdown organic matter to improve soil fertility and growth. The process of nitrification is done by certain bacteria and is when they convert nitrogen to ammonia and finally to nitrates which are used by growing plants.
As a result, soil monitoring is important to encourage health. Ambience Data plans on emerging into this field to monitor soil moisture and salinity so we help work towards improving soil resources and promote healthy ecosystems.