As per reports by UNEP and FAO, soil fertility and biodiversity are declining globally at an alarming rate. Soil plays a vital role in all agroecosystems and acts as a nutrient provider for trophic chains in the natural ecosystem. However, soil health has become a serious concern due to the excessive use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers in agriculture. Research by Columbia Climate School and researchers from Berkeley lab indicates that soils have lost between 50 and 70 % of their original carbon storage, and 30% of this carbon has been released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, leading to accelerated emission of CO2 and ultimately climate change.
The tiny microbes in soil, which comprise roughly 10,000 distinct species and 1 billion microscopic cells in one teaspoon of topsoil, are crucial for crop fertility, cleaning contaminated air, controlling carbon storage stocks, and absorbing atmospheric greenhouse gasses like nitrous oxide and methane. They provide most of the essential nutrients required for plant productivity, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as protect plants from disease and are closely linked to plant growth and productivity. Soil health maintenance is crucial for maintaining the microbial balance, as the primary function of soil as a living thing is processing organic materials and releasing nutrients into a form that plants need through microbial mediation.
Carbon constitutes most of the soil, and it serves as a fundamental building block and driving force of all life on Earth. The presence of glomalin in the root zone aggregates the soil and improves structure while controlling the passage of air and water in the root zone. Healthy soil produces robust roots, which are necessary to control climate change. However, due to excessive use of toxic pesticides like glyphosate in conventional agriculture, the soil has become utterly bereft of them. Such excessive use of pesticides can cause biodiversity loss, soil degradation, water contamination, and even cancer when consumed.
Soil, vegetation, and climate are all interconnected. As soil organic matter controls the fate of both water and carbon, when we degrade soils, it releases carbon. When carbon is released into the atmosphere, healthy soils tend to absorb water and carbon dioxide (CO2). However, if we do damage to the soil, this activity is reverted, turning the live soil into dead dirt, and leading to desertification.
To meet the growing population's demand, regenerative agriculture is needed to combat soil degradation and climate change. Regenerative agriculture is a set of agricultural concepts that prioritize soil health while also paying close attention to other factors such as water management, fertilizer use, and more. To restore soil health, the goal is to improve the farm's overall ecosystem. It employs a variety of approaches to gradually increase the land's productivity and biodiversity.
Regenerative farming practices minimize the plowing of land, preserving CO2 in the soil, enhancing its capacity to absorb water, and protecting the integrity of the earth's essential fungal populations.
Regenerative agriculture aims to reduce or eliminate fertilizer use. The primary application strategy used in regenerative agriculture is the development of plants and crops that can effectively absorb carbon from the atmosphere and serve as a carbon-sequestering tool. It aids in rebuilding abandoned infertile regions that can be reclaimed for farming. This includes ecological aquaculture, enhancing and protecting buffer zones, and replanting and restoring peatlands and marshes.
One organization that is at the forefront of promoting regenerative agriculture is FFBS – Fashion for Biodiversity Solutions. FFBS is introducing technologies for regenerative agricultural practices, such as triangular auditing by FFBS (spatial data, the Internet of Things, and drones) that can help in the collection of localized data such as soil composition, presence of toxins, weather, and biodiversity assessment.
Using FFBS-GIS dashboards, a user can divide datasets into layers that can be combined and rearranged to examine a scenario from several perspectives. It monitors factors such as humidity, soil temperature, GHGs, and water levels. Using smart regenerative farming methods helps the soil retain carbon while boosting water absorption, organic matter growth, and biodiversity. If soil quality is maintained, crops will grow and yield more while being healthier and nutrient-dense.
By promoting regenerative agriculture, FFBS – Fashion for Biodiversity Solutions is not only helping to restore soil health and biodiversity, but it is also promoting sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices in the fashion industry. As the first-ever RegTech for the fashion industry, FFBS is committed to making sure that all environmental regulations are implemented and taken good care of.
In conclusion, the decline in soil fertility and biodiversity is a serious concern, and conventional agriculture practices are a major contributor to this problem. However, smart regenerative agriculture practices can help to revive dead soil and restore soil health, which is crucial for maintaining food security and mitigating climate change. Organizations like FFBS – Fashion for Biodiversity Solutions are leading the charge in promoting and implementing these practices, and we must all do our part to support and encourage these efforts.