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Alarming Soil Erosion: The Hidden Danger That Could Destroy Our Planet

Story Highlights
  • What are the causes of soil erosion?
  • There is a lot of potential yet undiscovered in the soil.

The soil’s reserves are depleted when eroded at a pace greater than the rate at which it can return to its fertile state. This makes the land less viable as a source of food. The top layer of soil, where most of the soil’s fertility is found, has been deliberately stripped as a consequence of decades, or even centuries, of farming, making it far more difficult to grow crops.

What are the causes of soil erosion?

Overgrazing, monoculture (growing the same crop year after year), and the overuse of weed herbicides are all contributors to soil deterioration. The plough, however, is a technological advancement that has greatly aided the agricultural industry is one of the factors too.

This time-honored implement is still vital, whether used on a little family farm in Africa or a big, mechanized enterprise in North Dakota.

Ploughing practices of today involve rotating the soil, which reveals beneficial soil bacteria that have been lurking under the surface in an attempt to destroy weeds. This is done to eradicate weeds. When these bacteria are allowed to be exposed to the sun, the soil gradually loses its fertility and, in the end, it perishes.

There is a lot of potential yet undiscovered in the soil.

We should stop looking for easy answers on the surface and start looking underneath.

The whole subterranean environment remained mostly inaccessible to researchers for far too long. Much research and development in agricultural technology have been on chemical [pesticides] and physical [equipment], but it is now time to consider biology. 

Scientists estimate that around 10 percent of soil life has been formally discovered. An understanding of the soil is one of the last great scientific challenges.

A greater understanding of soil composition may give rise to entirely new industries, such as biotechnology, which sequences the genes of soil bacteria to better supply farmers with the optimal nutrients for their land. This would be done to better meet the needs of farmers.

Taking a step back to more conventional procedures may sometimes result in generating unique and even ground-breaking ideas. The discovery of teixobactin, a toxin that has the potential to lead to the creation of the first new class of antibiotics in thirty years, was made possible thanks to the analysis of soil samples.

And some of the most significant breakthroughs in human health are hiding under our feet. There is much potential for the development of new medicines that are made from the natural chemicals that are present in the microbiome of the soil.

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