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Farmable Soil II

Soil loss is caused by an imbalance in the Earth's carbon cycle whereby less carbon is transferred to the soil than is taken from the soil.

Carbon is transferred to the soil by plants. Plants pull carbon out of the air and transform it into:

  • root systems within the soil and

  • plant bodies and edible parts that return to the soil when either:
    1. the plant dies and its body decomposes or
    2. part or all of the plant is consumed by an animal or human, and the digested food matter is returned to the soil.

Carbon is transferred from the soil by both:

  •  living factors:
    1. the metabolism (the acquisition of energy through the consumption of carbon, the breathing of oxygen, and the exhaling of CO2) of soil life: bacteria, fungi, and other organisms (e.g. worms)1
    2. the metabolism of animals and humans2

and

  •  non-living factors:
    1. wind erosion
    2. water erosion
    3. oxidation


The GROW BIOINTENSIVE method builds soil by minimizing non-living factors and improving the balance of Earth's carbon cycle.


Footnotes:

1) For their metabolism (energy), soil life consumes carbon contained within the soil, breaths in oxygen present in the soil pore spaces, and exhales CO2 gas, which eventually makes its way out of the soil and into the atmosphere. Much of this soil life is beneficial—even critical—to plants.

2) For their metabolism (energy), animals and humans consume plant roots, bodies, and fruit (carbon).  Much of this carbon is exhaled as CO2 gas during respiration and is lost to the atmosphere.  Additional soil carbon is lost when humans fail to return all of their digested food matter to the soil from which it came.


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