Exerpt from: Secrets of the Soil (wonderful book!)

Mark & Victoria animaux at ix.netcom.com
Thu Apr 24 09:43:19 EST 1997

In <E93qr1.FM8 at cix.compulink.co.uk> ecoli at cix.compulink.co.uk ("K N and
P J Harris") writes: 

>Hello Victoria,
>Sorry for delay but I've only just got back from China where they
>know how to chuck the synthetic stuff around at levels that make even
>eyes water.
>Your point about forests is a good one. My answer is that forests, and

>particularly the vulnerable rain forests, have very little nutrients
>them and they are in a very tight cycle. The available nutrients in
>falling leaves are back into the fungal-root system very quickly 
>otherwise they would be leached away.

Yes, and that fungus is what keeps that system alive in most cases. 
The transference of nutrients back and forth, plant to plant in a
symbiotic relationship with eachother.  When we do anything to disturb
that fungus, we are literally killing the forests.  When lakes are full
of poisons, which were not needed in the first place, become part of
the forest, the fungus are killed, and the system is lost.  Correct me
if I am wrong.

 The "humus" in the soil is only a 
>small backwater holding mainly carbon and not much else. Hence, when
>forest is chopped down you have an infertile desert in no time.

Yes, but in nature, when say, a forest burns down, other plants come in
or are germinated, creating another type of system.  Other animals
migrate to that system, forage and graze on what is now available,
until something happens again, in nature, which will cycle back to the
original plants and animals...the cycle of life goes on.  I am not
talking now, about the forests which are being slashed and burned for
agriculture now.  I am just talking about the natural order of what
occurs on virgin soils as the sample.  Regardless whether the fertility
is low for agriculture, it is fully sustainable to the forests original
structure.  It is those forests which are rapidly disappearing before
they can even be studied effectively.  Am I off base here?  

 All the 
>nutrients in the system were conserved in the living canopy.
>The tragedy is that people look at the fantastic living mass that is a

>rain forest and make the mistake of thinking that this must be very 
>fertile - if we chop it down we can grow fantastic crops. Wrong -
>- wrong.

Yes, with this I fully agree. Sadly.

 An understanding of soil science and soil microbiology in 
>particular would convince them that it is a special system.
>Peter Harris,
>Department of Soil Science,
>The University of Reading, U.K.
I fully intend to go to University this fall for environmental
sciences.  I have a need to  know more about this.  I am bitten by the
bug of knowledge.  I only have one regret, that I did not do this much
earlier in life.  I suppose 41 is not an old age, but I sure do wish I
was already in the science mix...It will take me 5 years to get my PhD,
but I intend to go for it.

If I am incorrect in any of the above thinking, please tell me.  I am
open and willing to learn.


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