Tag Archives | soil


Ethanol production degrading soil productivity

Crop residues are viewed as a low cost and readily available source of material for ethanol production. But these residues are not simply a waste material as they play a pivotal role in sustaining levels of organic matter in soil. Consequently, extensive removal of crop residues for ethanol production – or for other industrial purposes […]

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Study Slams Mainstream Farming Techniques

Long-established plow-based agricultural methods combined with the economic imperative to improve crop yields are rapidly depleting the Earth’s soil supply, says a University of Washington (UW) scientist. According to UW professor David Montgomery, plowing increases soil erosion to the point that it is not offset by soil creation. Rather than plowing, Montgomery suggests “no-till” agriculture […]

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Bacteria Used To Reinforce Buildings

Natural soil bacteria could be used to stabilize buildings against earthquakes, turning loose sand around the building’s foundations into sandstone, say researchers at University of California – Davis. An article describing their work appears in the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. Soils behave very differently during an earthquake, with sandy soils adopting characteristics more […]

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Increasing Soil Erosion Threatens World’s Food Supply

An ecologist from Cornell University reports that soil from the world’s croplands is being swept and washed away 10 – 40 times faster than it is being replenished. Astonishingly, an agricultural area the size of Indiana is destroyed every year. Cornell’s David Pimentel lamented that while climate change hogged the headlines, nobody cared much about […]

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Amazon A Desert For Soil Bacteria

The diversity of soil bacteria in the otherwise species-rich Amazon is more like a desert, while paradoxically, the arid desert is teeming with microbial organisms. These surprising findings, reported in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, come from the first-ever continental-scale genetic survey of soil bacteria. The survey revealed that the primary factor that […]

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Arctic Soil Carbon Vastly Underestimated

It seems that current efforts to understand the effects of carbon on climate warming could be a waste of time as estimates of Arctic soil carbon appear to be hugely underestimated. New University of Washington research shows that the estimate of how much soil carbon is available in the high Arctic to be released into […]

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