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Soils

A Nation that destroys it’s soil destroys itself’ (Roosevelt 1934)’



UK Soil degradation accounts for between £900 million and £1.4 billion a year: Half of these costs are caused by the loss of organic matter, over a third by compaction and the remainder by erosion. Nasa satellite images show a 2 km brown ring of soil hugging our coastline – now in our seas. This loss of soil is irreversible. Soil is washed and blown from fields into the rivers on its way to the sea, carrying high levels of nitrates and phosphates that further pollute and alter the ecological integrity of fresh water.

Agricultural practices that aid this process include:

– Application of pesticides and nutrients lead to eutrophication (plant growth) in water – leading to a lack of oxygen
– Slurry and manure spreading
– Inappropriate cultivation practices
– Inappropriate irrigation practices
– Salination due to shallow ground water
– Contamination of water bodies

The Return of the natives: grass-clover leys boost earthworm recoveries: Earthworms have been in the news recently, with new data confirming that earthworm numbers are low in UK arable soils due to intensive ploughing, repeated soil disturbance and low soil organic matter (Soil Security Programme)

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