Mother Channels interviews soil scientist, Christopher Martius, (Principal Scientist Climate Change, CIFOR) on the possibility of nurturing soil microbes to sequester carbon, at COP 22, Marrakech.
In destroying ecosystems, e.g. cutting down forests and managing agricultural soils unsustainably, the globe has been losing a significant quantity of soil carbon over the last 8000 years, since the introduction of agriculture.
Soil carbons can either become quickly degraded or remain very stable over millennia, however, once lost, e.g. through water erosion, etc. cannot be reclaimed easily, however, reintroducing greater levels of carbon back into soils is a very important factor in fighting climate change, and that simultaneously will support soil fertility in agriculture, which can reduce the need for mineral fertilisers, by providing soil cover and inputs to the soil, not mining the soil by extracting nutrient through product without returning to soil. We need to put back the management of organics in soil fertility in broader ways.
Martius acknowledges that a lot of improvement has taken place already and that farmers are realising what works best and what doesn’t. Also, that there has also been an overall increase in awareness of these issues, one being the “4ᵒ/ₒₒ” Initiative which aims to improve the organic matter content and promote carbon sequestration in soils through the application of agricultural practices adapted to local situations both economically, environmentally and socially, such as agroecology, agroforestry, conservation agriculture and landscape management.
What we need to focus on is the restoration of functional ecosystems through systems like earthworm farms, microbial proliferation, termites, urban waste recycling, etc. to build soil stability, which will help us with global strategies to feed the poor and keep climate change at bay.