By Dieter D. Genske
Genske addresses the elemental technology and engineering of land degradation and rehabilitation from a multi-disciplinary standpoint. With an organization foundation in soil technology and allied matters, this ebook presents a readable creation for somebody within the region of land remediation, even if as a qualified or as a student.
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In the south of Africa, the number of orphans has increased to 12 million. In Botswana, the life expectancy has fallen to 40 years. In Zambia, the number of teachers dying from AIDS every year is twice as large as the number of teachers that the national universities can generate. A severe famine threatens Malawi, since workers are missing the crop harvest (Grill 2004). After devastating the south of Africa, AIDS is now raging Russia, China and India. In 2005, 8500 people died every day. This is equivalent to the World Trade Centre being destroyed three times every day.
1 Soil as living environment Soil is the living basis for plants and animals. Although life started in the oceans, plants and animals invaded the land some 400 Ma ago. Since soil provides many resources and nutrients, a broad variety of terrestrial ecosystems have emerged. Soil organisms produce humus (Latin for moist, productive soil) from organic matter, which makes soil fertile. They also reduce organic matter to water, carbon dioxide and minerals from which plants profit. Larger soil organisms such as worms, ants or groundhogs introduce pores that may comprise 35–69 % of the volume of the topsoil, which is watered and aerated via these pores.
These combined processes are referred to as evapotranspiration. 4). During the winter season, precipitation may be prevented from infiltrating the soil due to freezing conditions or snow covering. Another example of the recharge capacity of soils is the carbon cycle. Plants take up carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and store it in the form of organic carbon. Carbon is also stored within the soil organisms as well as in plant residues and decaying organic material. 4 The eucalyptus tree wastes leaves and even whole branches to protect its own water reservoir from evaporation.