Friday, June 5, 2009

Soil: the Terrestrial Biosphere

In all the climate change awareness, the role of soil is perhaps least understood and most taken for granted in many discussions on climate. In an attempt to understand a great deal more about soil, Ecoversity has found different ways to highlight the work of Michael Martin Melendrez. Michael has developed an unique understanding of soil, its salinity, its ph, and its micro-organism web of life, its 'soil food net'. From that sensitivity to the balances within the soil Melendrez devised strategies to remediate poor soils into fertile ones.

Ecoversity's intern, Maribou Latour, interviews Michael Melendrez in his lushes arboretum, which he created himself from salt ridden heavy clay barrens. Over a period of twenty some years in remediating this mostly infertile dense 'brick-like' dirt Michael has discovered soil secrets that can be applied in many different circumstances.

This conversation in 5 parts on soil will give insight into the role and nature of humus, carbon absorbtion, salinity, compost,  mycorrhizal fungi, and their interplay. Michael then lays out a strategy for remediation through the production of glomalin, a glycoprotein produced abundantly on hyphae and spores of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in soil and in roots. Glomalin is certainly a key to understanding carbon sequestration both in its protein and carbohydrate subunits. Michael explains how It permeates organic matter, binding it to silt, sand, and clay particles. Not only does glomalin contain 30 to 40 percent carbon, but it also forms clumps of soil granules called aggregates. (We will look at this in the video). These add structure to soil, and keep other stored soil carbon from escaping.

Hope you will enjoy this series on "Soil: the Terrestrial Biosphere" --
Please....brothers and all of them.... in particular created for those of you who have an interest in permaculture, farming and gardening, forestry, nurseries, etc. but also for planners, development agencies and large scale re-mediation projects......uh...I guess that is about all of you. Tx, Willem

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