Tag Archives: soil fungii

Dirt; Soil degradation is a global problem we inflict on ourselves

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The media loves hyperbole. In some ways they remind me of ‘The end is nigh’ cartoon guy. This week (Oct 16, 2017) it’s ‘Ecological Armageddon’, a kind of end-of-the-world announcement that is founded on what looks like a drastic reduction in the insect biomass in parts of Germany; 75% of insects have disappeared since 1989. I don’t mean to trivialise these alarming reports, because if it turns out to be a phenomenon of more global extent (the collapse of bee colonies does not augur well), then the ramifications for activities like food production could be dire. The report’s authors note that the cause of this reduction is not yet understood, a sensible comment based on the limited scope of their study (the paper is Open Access). But their caution has not stifled speculation and hyperbole.

The demise of insects segues into the topic of this blog; the alarming rate at which soils, globally, are being degraded. There is a symbiotic relationship between soils and insects, linked primarily to the vital role both play in vegetation productivity. Continue reading

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Terroir-as

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Among wine drinkers, the term Terroir can invoke glazed expressions, or in real enthusiasts an opportunity to wax lyrical about the provenance of their beverage.  The term is French, morphing from the word terre , the land, or earth.  It conveys a ‘sense of place’, the earth, the climate, and the culture of wine-making.  In other words, pretty well anything that contributes to a wine’s character.

Opinions vary about the real significance of terroir. For some, the cultural foundations are most important in a kind of philosophical, metaphysical way.  For others, it is the physical environment in which the grapes grow, are harvested, and finally turned into wine.  For the more cynical it is just a marketing ploy, something to make the purchaser and imbiber feel good.  The French have honed this to a fine art, to the point where only wine from Burgundy can be called Burgundy, or Champagne from a region and appellation of the same name in north France. Continue reading

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