Soil is said to be poor when it is not able to produce nutrients such as essential microorganisms for humans, plants and animals, and this for generations. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see acidic soils poor in humus and organic matter. Therefore, it is high time to reconsider the earth as the fundamental link in a long food chain.
Humus deficit + acidity = poor soil
Successively, plant roots, macrofauna and soil microorganisms transform the parent rock into fine particles: clays. In the digestive tract of earthworms, these mineral particles bind to organic matter to form the soil reservoir: the clay-humic complex. This complex has the ability to retain nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, calcium, which are necessary for crop growth.
Fertile soil is clay soil whose formation is linked to biological activity (plants, microfauna and microflora). It is also necessary that this biological activity is nourished by carbon chains: organic matter, and that the environmental conditions are favorable to it. Indeed, a drop in a pH point between 6 and 5 (increase in acidity) divides the populations of microorganisms by 50 or even 100. Organic matter is therefore less well transformed into humus in acidic soil.
Likewise, intensive tillage divides by 5 or even 10 the population of earthworms, a key player in the mixing between organic matter and soil clay.
Enriching a poor land: what solutions?
Three actions can be taken simultaneously to promote the conditions of a living soil and enrich a poor soil.
Limit tillage to promote the development of earthworms and microorganisms, as well as to control erosion and loss of elements through leaching.
Introduce organic matter in the form of green manure, manure or compost. Better still: restore carbon-rich crop residues to the soil, a nutrient source for biological activity.
Fight against acidity by adding limestone.
Enriching a poor land: it is possible!
Several NGOs and Foundations are planning to re-green desert areas around the world. These initiatives respond to climate issues, and to the challenges of combating poverty and population migration. By applying the three principles mentioned above relating to good management of fertile soil, these organizations put the land back as the first link in the development of our crops.