Showing soil some love for the International Year of Soils - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Showing soil some love for the International Year of Soils

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SPOKANE, Wash.- The International Year of Soils kicked off in January with the purpose of shining a light on something people rarely think about, soil. A quarter of the planet's biodiversity can be found in the ground right beneath our feet but even more than that, soil is the foundation of the global food and ground water system which makes it an integral part of our daily lives.

Soil is resilient but not infinite. Brad Duncan, an Assistant State Soil Scientist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Spokane says, "soil is considered a non renewable resource so it's something that we have to protect. Geologically speaking, it takes thousands of years just to form one centimeter of soil, so if we don't protect what we have it could go away pretty quickly." There are reports that at our current rate of soil productivity, erosion, over-grazing, deforestation, bad agricultural practices, and acres of land being sealed under expanding cities every minute world-wide, there may be 60 to 100 years left before a major portion of our soils are unproductive.

According to the National Geographic (http://bit.ly/1vCaVkw) "an area bigger than the United States and Canada combined was lost to soil erosion by 1991 and there are no signs of it stopping" any time soon.

Farmers like Tom Zwainz in Spokane County are doing their part to keep the soil on their farms healthy.

"We're getting more sophisticated on the soil testing. Instead of one test or one sample over the whole field, we're taking multiple tests on each soil type. With satellites now, we're getting images that we can go take a look at, and see if we have problem areas and see what's going on in those problem areas."

Duncan says, "in Washington there's probably over a thousand different kinds of soils, and worldwide there's about 20,000 or more." Soil in the Palouse is considered one of the most productive in the world because it consists of very deep silty soils that hold a lot of water which helps make it very productive.

To learn more about the International Year of Soils and the official soil for Washington state and Idaho, watch the video above and also click on the KHQ Find It Bar (scroll down to January 11, 2015) for links to more information.

 

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