Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2012-04-10
Dirt, soil, call it what you want—it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are—and have long been—using up Earth's soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil—as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations.
Author: David L. Lindbo
Publisher: Soil Science Society of Amer
Release Date: 2012-01-01
Aflatoxin contamination represents a serious threat to a healthy food supply. Resulting from mold on corn, peanuts, and other grains and grain products, aflatoxins are extremely toxic. Understanding the nature of fungi infection and the factors that favor aflatoxin formation is important to grain producers, dealers, and other professionals who control grain from the field to the site of consumption to prevent serious loss of large quantities of grain or grain products. Producers of poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs, and even pet food need to be aware of the threat of aflatoxin. Participants in the grain industry who grow, store, or process corn and other grains subject to potential infection by aflatoxin should be aware of the risks of fungal infection and aflatoxin contamination, and proper management strategies. The authors focus on the binding of aflatoxin in animal feeds by employing calcium smectite. Readers will be especially glad to know that aflatoxin can often be controlled with a natural mineral material to bind aflatoxin in animal feeds at a modest cost.--Back cover.
Author: Richard Bardgett
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-01-26
Genre: Soil and civilization
For much of history, soil has played a major, and often central, role in the lives of humans. Entire societies have risen, and collapsed, through the management or mismanagement of soil; farmers and gardeners worldwide nurture their soil to provide their plants with water, nutrients, and protection from pests and diseases; major battles have been aborted or stalled by the condition of soil; murder trials have been solved with evidence from the soil; and, for most of us, our ultimate fate is the soil. In this book Richard Bardgett discusses soil and the many, and sometimes surprising, ways that humanity has depended on it throughout history, and still does today. Analysing the role soil plays in our own lives, despite increasing urbanization, and in the biogeochemical cycles that allow the planet to function effectively, Bardgett considers how superior soil management could combat global issues such as climate change, food shortages, and the extinction of species. Looking to the future, Bardgett argues that it is vital for the future of humanity for governments worldwide to halt soil degradation, and to put in place policies for the future sustainable management of soils.
Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2015-11-16
A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves—and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine. Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health—for people and for plants—depends on Earth’s smallest creatures. The Hidden Half of Nature tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut. When David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé decide to restore life into their barren yard by creating a garden, dead dirt threatens their dream. As a cure, they feed their soil a steady diet of organic matter. The results impress them. In short order, the much-maligned microbes transform their bleak yard into a flourishing Eden. Beneath their feet, beneficial microbes and plant roots continuously exchange a vast array of essential compounds. The authors soon learn that this miniaturized commerce is central to botanical life’s master strategy for defense and health. They are abruptly plunged further into investigating microbes when Biklé is diagnosed with cancer. Here, they discover an unsettling truth. An armada of bacteria (our microbiome) sails the seas of our gut, enabling our immune system to sort microbial friends from foes. But when our gut microbiome goes awry, our health can go with it. The authors also discover startling insights into the similarities between plant roots and the human gut. We are not what we eat. We are all—for better or worse—the product of what our microbes eat. This leads to a radical reconceptualization of our relationship to the natural world: by cultivating beneficial microbes, we can rebuild soil fertility and help turn back the modern plague of chronic diseases. The Hidden Half of Nature reveals how to transform agriculture and medicine—by merging the mind of an ecologist with the care of a gardener and the skill of a doctor.
Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2017-05-09
A MacArthur Fellow’s impassioned call to make agriculture sustainable by ditching the plow, covering the soil, and diversifying crop rotations. The problem of agriculture is as old as civilization. Throughout history, great societies that abused their land withered into poverty or disappeared entirely. Now we risk repeating this ancient story on a global scale due to ongoing soil degradation, a changing climate, and a rising population. But there is reason for hope. David R. Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing soil back to life remarkably fast. Growing a Revolution draws on visits to farms in the industrialized world and developing world to show that a new combination of farming practices can deliver innovative, cost-effective solutions to problems farmers face today. Cutting through standard debates about conventional and organic farming, Montgomery explores why practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture help restore soil health and fertility. Farmers he visited found it both possible and profitable to stop plowing up the soil and blanketing fields with chemicals. Montgomery finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations provides the essential recipe to rebuild soil organic matter. Farmers using these unconventional practices cultivate beneficial soil life, smother weeds, and suppress pests while relying on far less, if any, fertilizer and pesticides. These practices are good for farmers and the environment. Using less fossil fuel and agrochemicals while maintaining crop yields helps farmers with their bottom line. Regenerative practices also translate into farms that use less water, generate less pollution, lower carbon emissions—and stash an impressive amount of carbon underground. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Growing a Revolution lays out a solid case for an inspiring vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all, cool the planet, and restore life to the land.
Author: Judith Schwartz
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Release Date: 2013-05-20
Genre: Technology & Engineering
In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems—climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity—there are positive, alternative scenarios to the degradation and devastation we face. In each case, our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil. Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems. For example, land can suffer from undergrazing as well as overgrazing, since certain landscapes, such as grasslands, require the disturbance from livestock to thrive. Regarding climate, when we focus on carbon dioxide, we neglect the central role of water in soil—"green water"—in temperature regulation. And much of the carbon dioxide that burdens the atmosphere is not the result of fuel emissions, but from agriculture; returning carbon to the soil not only reduces carbon dioxide levels but also enhances soil fertility. Cows Save the Planet is at once a primer on soil's pivotal role in our ecology and economy, a call to action, and an antidote to the despair that environmental news so often leaves us with.
Soil in the Environment is key for every course in soil science, earth science, and environmental disciplines. This textbook engages students to critically look at soil as the central link in the function and creation of the terrestrial environment. For the first time, Dr. Hillel brilliantly discusses soils as a natural body that is engaged in dynamic interaction with the atmosphere above and the strata below that influences the planet's climate and hydrological cycle, and serves as the primary habitat for a versatile community of living organisms. The book offers a larger perspective of soil’s impact on the environment by organizing chapters among three main processes: Physical, Chemical, and Biology. It is organized in a student-friendly format with examples, discussion boxes, and key definitions in every chapter. The book provides students of geology, physical science, and environmental studies with fundamental information and tools for meeting the natural resource challenges of the 21st century, while providing students of soil science and ecology with the understanding of physical and biological interactions necessary for sustainability. First textbook to unite soil science and the environment beyond what is traditionally taught Incorporates current knowledge of such hot topics as climate change, pollution control, human expropriation of natural resources, and the prospects for harmonious and sustainable development Organized in a student-friendly format with examples, discussion boxes, and key definitions in every chapter Full color throughout
Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming. As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air—an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
In a comprehensive guide to growing, certifying and marketing organic produce, grains, meat and dairy, the author clarifies every USDA requirement and offers complete advice on selecting equipment, tending the land, caring for animals and marketing farm products, in a book that includes profiles of successful organic farmers. Simultaneous.
Author: Ward Chesworth
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2007-11-22
The Encyclopedia of Soil Science provides a comprehensive, alphabetical treatment of basic soil science in a single volume. It constitutes a wide ranging and authorative collection of some 160 academic articles covering the salient aspects of soil physics, chemistry, biology, fertility, technology, genesis, morphology, classification and geomorphology. With increased usage of soil for world food production, building materials, and waste repositories, demand has grown for a better global understanding of soil and its processes. longer articles by leading authorities from around the world are supplemented by some 430 definitions of common terms in soil sciences.