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Peak SOIL

Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 16 Jun 2018, 19:11:27

I’ve already posted this on another thread but probably more properly below bye here.


Arable land (million). Population (million). Hectare/person
USA. 175 hectare. 327. 0.54
India. 160 hectare. 1,354. 0.12
China. 103 hectare. 1,415. 0.07
Russia. 122 hectare. 144. 0.85
Canada. 46 hectare. 37. 1.2
Mexico. 25 hectare. 131. 0.2
UK. 6. Hectare. 67. 0.09
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 16 Jun 2018, 19:30:48

The FAO is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 

The minimum amount of agricultural land necessary for sustainable food security, with a diversified diet similar to those of North America and Western Europe (hence including meat), is 0.5 of a hectare per person. This does not allow for any land degradation such as soil erosion, and it assumes adequate water supplies. Very few populous countries have more than an average of 0.25 of a hectare. It is realistic to suppose that the absolute minimum of arable land to support one person is a mere 0.07 of a hectare–and this assumes a largely vegetarian diet, no land degradation or water shortages, virtually no post-harvest waste, and farmers who know precisely when and how to plant, fertilize, irrigate, etc. [FAO, 1993]



1 hectare = 2.47105381 acres 
.07 hectare= .17 acres per person 
about 7500 square feet per person 

While this figure produces a result of around 5-6 people per acre, there are plenty of caveats to consider. If the soil is not ideal, increase the land. If the growing season is short, increase the land. If inputs are natural instead of industrial, increase the land. If conditions are anything less than optimum, increase the land. Bear in mind that the above figures are derived with global statistics that include much food production using mechanized/industrial methods. While these methods greatly reduce labor, they do not necessarily promote the most efficient production rate per unit of area. Intensive growing methods can produce a great deal more food per unit of area. Permaculture methods can take more area but deliver food while increasing the fertility of the land and reducing labor. The trade off is the time required to establish the systems. The biggest advantage is the promotion of a resilient ecosystem, capable of continuing indefinately. 

https://permies.com/t/12422/Amount-land-person
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Yonnipun » Mon 18 Jun 2018, 10:18:58

The minimum amount of agricultural land necessary for sustainable food security, with a diversified diet similar to those of North America and Western Europe (hence including meat), is 0.5 of a hectare per person. This does not allow for any land degradation such as soil erosion, and it assumes adequate water supplies.

Just looking in the past confirms that each and every civilization eventually ended because of the land degradation. Simple as that. Without fertilizers we would be starving right now. Eventually the soil is going to be eroded away anyway so using fertilizers is a very short term solution. 0,5 hectars of land is a very small piece of land, 50mx100m. It takes atleast 4 times more land to support a single cow. So a claim that only 0.5 of hectares per person is needed for sustainable food security is simply ridiculous.
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby M_B_S » Tue 03 Jul 2018, 16:37:06

Very HOT :

https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/ ... ter/76626/

Soil erosion looms as potential humanitarian disaster
Harry Ridgewell and 1 contributor
Started 03 Jul 2018 |

Over 50 percent of earth's land surface is "under considerable pressure"
Shift to animal-based diets partly to blame
Societies that degrade their topsoil do not last
The ability to feed 10-12 billion humans by the end of the century is one of the great challenges facing humanity – and the world may not be capable of living up to it. This stark forecast comes from a new edition of the World Atlas of Desertification, which finds that 4.18 million square kilometers of land – an area half the size of the European Union – are being degraded each year.

Degradation of the globe’s land surface caused by human activity is already negatively impacting the well being of at least 3.2 billion people, and eating up more than 10 percent of the planet’s annual GDP (IPBES).
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Damm something is going damm wrong:

"Scholes told WikiTribune land degradation is “highly likely” to be a contributing factor to future wars, noting the IPBES study found that in dryland areas, years with extremely low rainfall have been associated with up to a 45 percent increase in violence."
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sun 08 Jul 2018, 03:49:44

Surely animal manures improve and grow soil.
Doubt there are too many animals running around on arable land that arent improving it.
There would be plenty of zero animal input, mono culture, industrial farms, growing vegetables that are are destroying the soil though.
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 08 Jul 2018, 06:55:06

Ever read “The Omnivours Dilema”? One section of the book talks about a farm with tire land the guy is trying to improve using some of the same techniques.

For a while when I was a kid I wanted to work a piece of land and improve it. Life didn’t turn out that way for me but I admire the effort. The best I could do was save a piece of land from development.
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Cid_Yama » Sun 08 Jul 2018, 07:54:52

Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said on Friday.

About a third of the world's soil has already been degraded, Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) told a forum marking World Soil Day.

The causes of soil destruction include chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation which increases erosion, and global warming.

Soils play a key role in absorbing carbon and filtering water, the FAO reported. Soil destruction creates a vicious cycle, in which less carbon is stored, the world gets hotter, and the land is further degraded.

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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 08 Jul 2018, 12:32:41

iirc, in the archeological record, about the only cultures who actually improved the health and productivity of the land they inhabited were those living near the ocean who brought shell fish and other ocean products inland where they otherwise would not have easily been taken, and left them around to be worked into the soil, thus bringing scarce micronutrients back into otherwise depleted soils.

No matter what else you do to manage your soil, if you are taking nutrients out (by selling the meat, dairy, eggs... as in Newfs example), you are necessarily depleting the soil, unless you are shipping in artificial or organic fertilizers of some sort.

That's just physics...conservation of matter, and the darn, stubborn unwillingness of most elements to suddenly turn themselves into more needed elements. :-D (Except for in the innards of certain stars, and occasionally a few other places in the natural world...)
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 08 Jul 2018, 12:50:56

What is the climax community?

In ecology, climax community, or climatic climax community, is a historic term for a biological community of plants, animals, and fungi which, through the process of ecological succession in the development of vegetation in an area over time, have reached a steady state.

So, this you can say is the ideal state. When we clear cut vegatated areas to create monoculture plots of land and pour in our poisions ie. synthentic fertilizers and pesticides and plow the fields we are disturbing and degrading this soil climax community. We are killing the biotic ecosystem. The soils in many places is dead. It needs our IV of fertilizers and pesticides. So beyond the desertification and soil erosion which are themselves huge problems is the demise of the Soil.
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby M_B_S » Mon 09 Jul 2018, 01:50:38

Maybe there exist a techno fix: printing the food ?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWOVvSfSjCM

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/5225 ... ied-foods/

https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food ... nted-meals
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To be fair if we want to restore/save natural habitat for our brother/sister species (population decline is not wanted), we have no other choice or do we?

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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 09 Jul 2018, 08:53:47

Rough numbers.

The USA and India have about the same amount of aerable land. 4x the population.
India and China have about the same population. 4x the land.

India has 1/4 the aerable land per person we do.
China has 1/16.

If the USA was populated to the same ratio we would have 4x as many people.
If the same as China 16x as many people.

The USA heavily criticized China for its 1 child policy, it violated human rights.

Who is the idiot?
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 09 Jul 2018, 09:30:57

Well China rescinded its 1 child policy. Somebody is gegting dumber
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/worl ... olicy.html
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 09 Jul 2018, 20:54:00

Not to go too far into off topic debate here, but iirc Chinese couples were already more and more just voluntarily choosing to have no or few kids, so the policy became rather redundant.

People who have studied these things find that indirect measures--like insuring that women have easy access to birth control and to abortions...--are generally more effective than attempts at imposing rigid bans on numbers of children.
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 10 Jul 2018, 09:23:48

Methodology is not the question, arguing against an attempt to limit growth is the question. The USA should have been supporting their efforts, perhaps offering advice on how to do it better. They sure as hell did better than India.

We have a lot to fear from China simply because we have what they want-LAND.

Their goal, prompted by reading LTG, was to stabilize their population at 700 million by 2030. It’s now looking like double that.

What is the USA goal?
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 10 Jul 2018, 09:45:03

And of course neither country is doing anything to try to limit consumption per capita, which is the other crucial factor in the equation. Far from it!
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 10 Jul 2018, 10:40:03

True but evasive.

What do you think the maximum population should be? +/- 20%.
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 10 Jul 2018, 13:35:46

50,000 or so
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby kublikhan » Sun 26 Aug 2018, 18:54:41

China has reportedly developed a technology that is able to transform desert lands into arable soil that could grow crops and natural vegetation. According to CGTN, Chinese scientists have achieved success in growing crops in areas with less than ideal conditions caused by lack of rain and extremely hot temperatures. The huge breakthrough was recently presented at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on September 15 in the Chinese desert city of Ordos, where over 100 countries in attendance committed to setting national timelines to stop desertification by 2030. The scientists developed a paste made of a substance found in plant cell walls that, when mixed with sand, is able to retain water, nutrients, and air.

One particular location where the plants have been thriving is in a desert in North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. “According to our calculation, there are over 70 kinds of crops growing here. Many are not planted by us but they just grow themselves.” Over the course of six months, over 200 hectares of sand is being turned into plantations yielding corn, tomatoes, sorghum, and sunflowers. A reforestation project is also currently in the works, which is set to reforest 50% of degraded desert land in three years. Researchers are looking into expanding their project this fall, with a plan to transform another 200 hectares of desert. In the next few years, the scientists are confident that they can turn over 13,000 hectares more into fertile ground. Chinese forestry officials have stated that the area of desertified land in the country has so far been dropping by an annual average of more than 2,400 square kilometers.
Chinese Scientists Develop Revolutionary Paste that Transforms Desert Into Fertile Farmland

Youtube: New technology in China turns desert into land rich with crops

Since 2013, we have been conducting an outdoor planting experiment at two sites in the Nan’an District of Chongqing, China. three types of “soilized” sand layers with thicknesses of 10–20 cm, which were obtained by mixing sand with a modified sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) solution (containing 2% modified CMC and 5% compound fertilizer) at a weight ratio of 1: 0.15, were placed on top of the plain sand layer in separate sections. Many types of plants, such as rice, corn, and sweet potatoes, were planted in the “soilized” sand. In each year of the experiment, the plants have survived the heavy rains and continuous high temperature over consecutive sunny days that are characteristic of the climate in Chongqing, China.

To verify the feasibility of desert “soilization,” in April 2016, we started a large-scale planting experiment in “soilized” sand in the Ulan Buh Desert, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. This desert is characterized by little rainfall, with an average annual precipitation of only 102.9 mm, and severe wind erosion. It is one of the most severely desertified regions in China and one of those that are most difficult to control. Approximately 50 different plant seeds or seedlings, including Festuca arundinacea, coreopsis, wheat, corn, sunflower, sand jujube tree, and poplar tree, were sowed in the experimental field beginning on May 20th, 2016. At present, more than 70 kinds of plants (over 20 of which may have been introduced by wind or birds) are growing healthily and robustly in the field, and the growing of some algae on the “soil” indicates that a new ecological cycle different from the one common in desert is forming. Insects, such as butterflies, mosquitoes, and ants, and other animals, such as birds, mice, and even frogs are staying and living in the experimental field (those animals can rarely be seen in the desert). Sometimes foxes and badgers are also seen in the field.

The comparison of the yields of the plants including corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radish, and oilseed rape was made with those grown in the nearby fields of natural soil. The results show that all yields in the experiment field were higher, and in particular, the yields of three plants (potatoes, sweet potatoes, and radish) with tuber or tuberous roots were 50% higher (with the reasons and underlying mechanism to be elaborated upon in our next paper on eco-mechanics of soil). The planting experiment proves that the “soilized” sand has not turned back into its original discrete state by the erosion of rainstorm. On the contrary, the plots that were watered more frequently (for example, the plot in which rice was planted) have been found to be heavily covered with algae.

From an economical perspective, because the content of the constraining material is quite low and the preparation method is simple, the total cost for desert “soilization” is between 4500 and 6500 dollars per hectare depending on the planting requirements.
Paper: Desert “Soilization”: An Eco-Mechanical Solution to Desertification

Researchers from Chongqing Jiaotong University will be given 10 square kilometres of Abu Dhabi to cultivate desert grasses, vegetables and shrubbery in the spartan interior of the emirate, where 85 per cent of the land is classified by the government as “naturally ­degraded”. Abu Dhabi is an opportunity to see if the technology can be applied in commercial agriculture in one of the most extreme climates on Earth. If successful, the project will be developed by the company Chongqing Earthskin Eco-technology. Yesterday, this company signed an agreement with Mawarid Holding, which manages Abu Dhabi forests and much of its agricultural production. “The way that you managed to transform huge areas of the desert into cultivated land and green areas is a model that we looked at in a very interested manner. We’re looking forward to implementing it here in the UAE.”

The technology has been in development since 2009 and comes to Abu Dhabi after successful desert steppe reclamation and agricultural cultivation in China’s Ulan Buh Desert in the past two years. In stage one, researchers will set up an ecological and ­agricultural plan for large-scale commercialisation and application. Stage two will be a two to three-year experiment. It is only at this stage that researchers will be able to determine how much the system will cut expenses and reduce water consumption.

“Soil is one of the big issues that the whole world is facing and techniques by Chinese researchers and institutions are going to have a huge impact globally, not only in the UAE. Desertification is becoming a global challenge that everyone has to work towards.”
From sand to soil: Chinese researchers plan to turn the Abu Dhabi desert green
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 27 Aug 2018, 05:28:08

Bully for them if it works. They surely need it with 1/16 the areable soil per capita of the USA.
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Re: Peak SOIL

Unread postby farmlad » Thu 30 Aug 2018, 12:10:44

On the subject of depleting minerals in the soil. The usual soil tests are designed to estimate the amount of nutrients/minerals that would be available to plants and they are usually only looking at the top 3 to 6 inches. In most arable land the amount of minerals in the soil will be enough to grow crops for hundreds of years. One question is what does the mineral content look like in the soil profile from say 10 feet down to 500 feet deep. My guess is there's plenty as evidenced by the nutrient available from volcanic ash.

The role of biology is to release these minerals and make them available for the plants which is why biologically sick soils are addicted to fertilizers. One good example is Gabe Brown in North Dakota. He has eliminated all fertilizers on his large scale farming operation and year after year his soil gets better and his crops generally yield significantly better than the county average and the nutrient levels on his soil tests continue to show more available nutrients.

And building a couple inches of top soil can happen in a decade; not thousands of years. The thousands of years quote has to do with rock turning to soil not dead soil turning into nutrient dense top soil. So the question becomes; how to get the ball rolling or which comes first the chicken or the egg. because it takes healthy plants to grow healthy soil but if the soil is not healthy how do you grow healthy plants? One tool is to monitor the nutrition of the plants with plant sap analysis and supplying the needed nutrients with foliar applications. This is the strategy that Advancing Eco Agriculture is using with some very impressive results.

The millions of hectares of terra pretta that contiues to be discovered in the amazon suggests another human culture that improved the soil.
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