”The soil is the poor man’s tropical rain forest.” These words by the Scottish biologist M.B. Usher are spot on: one does not have to travel far to discover a wide diversity of life forms on a small area. Instead, a look under one’s feet may surpass the stoutest expectations, as soils are teeming with life. Apart from the occasional earthworm or woodlouse, one normally will see little of all that: many soil animals are just a few millimetres in size, the majority is even much smaller. To observe micro-organisms, one needs a microscope. A handful of fertile soil however contains thousands of species, billions of bacteria and meters of fungal hyphae. Nowadays, the above quote is even more relevant than when it was written around 1980, since soils have been deteriorating rapidly worldwide. This threatens the quality of our lives and livelihood by posing global challenges to food safety, climate change and adaptability, water quality and soil biodiversity.
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Media of output||Online|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Apr 2018|