57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Essential Reading for Gardeners, Farmers, Military Officers, Environmentalists, and more,
This review is from: Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners (Paperback)Like many other things about the soil, this book has far more relevance than it first appears. On the surface, it is a fine reference work about the soil and the living things in it. Good soil will have bacteria and fungi by the millions in every square foot, not to mention plant material and worms, insects, spiders, and other critters. Nardi discusses at length what it takes to make a crumbly loam that will soak in water, resist erosion, and provide the nutrients that crops need. If you're interested in studying wildlife without traveling further than your local backyard or park, Nardi also gives the basics of how to study the animals of the soil. He includes a section on soil problems, including preventing erosion and salinization, and how to maximize the benefit of any fertilizer that is applied. He emphasizes that pesticides can often do more harm than good. In a time of rising prices for fertilizer and pesticides, it is good to know that paying attention to your soil can bring dividends that chemicals won't. Highly recommended for gardeners, farmers, and environmentalists.
Nardi is low-key about the economic importance of his work, and says nothing about politics. He's not out to promote a cause; he's explaining what productive soil is, where it comes from, and how to keep it that way. The fact is, though, that soil degradation is a root cause of an astonishing number of conflicts around the world today. Nardi says nothing about Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Somalia, or Sudan, but all of these countries have extremely degraded soil. I know of no book more important than Nardi's for persons interested in reducing poverty worldwide to have on their bookshelf. Ditto for anyone, whether in the military or not, who wants to promote peace. Studying a bucket of soil from a local farm can tell you more than anything else about why violence erupts again and again in some parts of the world. Solving soil problems before they get to the disaster stage can also play a major role in preventing conflict and upheaval--and the U.S. needs to look at its own soil in this context.
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Initial post: Sep 13, 2010 3:55:03 PM PDT
Ruth Henriquez Lyon says:
Your unique perspective on soil in other parts of the planet is really interesting -- thanks for a great review.
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