Conservation Corner: December 5th is World’s Soil Day
With the beginning of winter and snow covering our Michigan landscape, it’s easy to forget that December 5th is World Soil Day. World Soil Day is a day to focus attention on the importance of healthy soils and advocating for the sustainable management of soil resources.
When managed properly, soil is our best tool to end hunger, combat climate change, provide clean water, adapt to weather patterns, preserve biodiversity, improve drought response, minimize pollution and increase resilience to environmental crisis. How does soil do all these wonderful things? Because of soil organic carbon.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is the main constituent of soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is formed by the biological, chemical and physical decay of organic materials on the soil surface and below the ground. Basically, SOM is composed of anything that once lived.
Storing carbon in SOC is seen as one way to mitigate climate change by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The argument is that small increases of SOC over very large areas will significantly reduce net carbon dioxide emissions from agriculture or other pollutants.
We can all do our part to protect soil. The Van Buren Conservation District offers many opportunities to the local community to help do their part to protect soil. Proper disposal of pollutants help to protect soil and water (look for VBCD’s Household Chemical Waste Collection events). Planting trees protects soils from erosion and builds carbon (VBCD annual tree sale). Farmers and gardeners can do their part with soil carbon building techniques which can reduce inputs over time and improve productivity of soil.