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What happens to the plastics that we use? The most common answer: they get thrown away. But there is no AWAY!
We can all point to the areas where the crops just don’t grow as well, where the tractor has to pull harder, or where water ponds and runs off. But how bad is the compaction problem?
Historically, it was commonplace for crops and livestock to share a home. Animals grazed uncropped or marginal lands, controlling weeds and turning the soil.
“What were they thinking?” It’s a common question asked by agricultural scientists about the design of long-term cropping system experiments. Starting a long-term study is a big investment and having asked those questions ourselves while working with multi-decadal trials, you can imagine how daunting it was to be tasked with setting up a Long-term Agroecological Research and Extension (LTARE) site through the Washington Soil Health Initiative (WaSHI).
We tend not to want to think too hard about the contents of our toilets, much less where they go after we flush. While our waste may be out of sight and out of mind after this point for the average person, in reality, the problem of what to do with our waste isn’t as “flushable” on a larger scale.
Here we explain why we are including soil biology in this study, how we are measuring microbial biomass, and what we expect to learn.
Tillage is essential for termination of overwintering foliage (e.g., multifunction crops, weeds) and seedbed preparation, but can degrade biological and physical soil function, or health