Our soils are bustling with life, home to a quarter of the Earth’s species, from beetles and springtails to worms, spiders, nematodes, and billions of other microorganisms. Healthy soils are vital for combatting climate change, feeding the planet’s population, and preventing flooding and droughts.
These unsung heroes of the soil all form a part of our diverse ecosystem and play a crucial role in keeping soils healthy.
There’s more carbon in our soils than there is in all the world’s plants, forests and the atmosphere combined!
A large proportion of this is bound up in the organic compounds produced by fungi. Studies show that healthy soils on organic farms are able to store (‘sequester’) up to 25% more carbon in the long term. Fungi play an important role here, making them a vital piece of the climate puzzle.
Soil erosion is a big concern for both farmers. Half the topsoil on our planet has been lost in the last 150 years, due to erosion, and much of this is due to intensive farming. The dense mesh of mycelium in healthy soils holds them together; its networks wind through plant roots and shoots. Without it, soil would be washed away.
Did you know that healthy soils can filter out pollutants? Fungi have been shown to be amazing cleaners of our soils, filtering out everything from heavy metals to pesticides, and even radioactive waste.
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