Read at : Google Alerts – desertification
Soils under threat
IT’S difficult to imagine Australia’s rangelands soils teeming with microbes, especially in the current severe drought, but they are – and if they go, the productivity of the rangelands goes with them.
This may happen under a warming, drying climate, a new global study has shown, changing the soil nutrient balance and pushing extensive areas of land now carrying livestock towards desertification.
Less moisture not only inhibits plant growth, it makes life harder for soil microbes – and microbes are key to building and cycling reserves of soil nitrogen and carbon.
Dozens of researchers looked at soil-plant interactions on 224 dryland sites across 16 countries, and wrote in the journal Nature that diminishing interaction between plants and soil life could be a major factor in pushing semi-arid lands into full desert aridity.