“Everything that works against nature, will not endure the times.” This quote from Charles Darwin holds true for the soil in particular. Erosion, nutrient loss, over-fertilisation, contamination, compaction and construction projects all take their toll on the soil. But only healthy soil can maintain its varied functions and services.
Healthy soil means good harvests, healthy food, and an economically successful agriculture and food sector. But the soil has a number of further functions: it purifies the water that we drink, and can sequester carbon. The latter function counters climate change. A healthy soil provides a habitat for flora and fauna, as well as for microorganisms. Among these are many beneficial organisms – some, such as mycorrhizal fungi, with which we are already familiar, and others whose functions have yet to be discovered.
“Everything that works against nature, will not endure the times.”
The cover story of this annual report introduces three projects on the topic of soil. Learn how Agroscope researchers are maintaining soil functions, and even attempting to improve them. Soil offers a potential for plant production that has not been fully exploited to date: optimised soil management and targeted control of natural soil processes should result in even better yields.
Research that helps practitioners must be interdisciplinary and geared to the agro-ecosystem as a whole. This requires multi-year trials and a variety of professional skills, but also a feel for the most pressing problems and the aspiration to develop practice-oriented, implementable solutions. It is precisely these that are the strength of Agroscope research. Agroscope is thus ideally positioned to help bridge existing knowledge gaps and to offer action-oriented solutions, as well as decision-making bases for legal measures. This commitment to the soil – the foundation of the agriculture and food sector – serves both the present and future generations.
Head of Agroscope