Biosphere Processes 101

Basic biosphere processes such as water cycle, carbon cycle, both driven by solar energy, and which do much more work than industrial energy.

Using multi-species cover crops to improve soil health

This is an excellent presentation by Jay Fuhrer, who works for the Natural Resource Conservation Service in North Dakota, USA. He uses case studies to explain how innovative use of cover crops can boost soil health and productivity, and dramatically reduce the use of artificial fertilizers.

Sea WIFS biosphere animation

Watch the global carbon cycle! The link below takes you to a NASA page that loads a 90 megabyte animated GIF file showing chlorophyll concentration (in the oceans) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI, on land) as the seasons change. Note: this page requires a fair bit of computer memory and good internet connection to load the image. It may step around slowly until the image is fully loaded.

Carbon cycle video

The first two segments of a video presentation/animation of the carbon cycle.

Water and soil demonstration

Soil scientist Ray Archuleta shows a remarkable contrast in the responses of tilled and no-tilled soil to water. Note that the biological glue he speaks of during the second half, substances such as glomalin, are one of the important large compounds that contain soil carbon. The takeaway from this demonstration is also that soil organic carbon has huge leverage on the effectiveness of the water cycle. See also

Soil and society

Charles E. Kellogg wrote an essay published in the United States Department of Agriculture's 1938 Yearbook of Agriculture (Soils and Men). Thanks to Abe Collins for the tip.

Kellogg shares profound insights on how the thinking that prevails in a society can affect its soils, its resource base.

"Do civilizations fall because the soil fails to produce -- or does a soil fail only when the people living on it no longer know how to manage their civilization?"

"It was not the soil of Rome that failed, but the men."

John Todd on soil and the carbon cycle

John Todd, of Living Machines fame and the New Alchemy Institute, has an interesting essay on about the need for our urban and industrial society to understand the foundational role of soil, and the carbon cycle.

1955 Keyline film

We are indebted to Darren Doherty's website for the following information and video:

Living from livestock: Sam Bingham's 1984 classic available for download

In 1984 Sam Bingham wrote a short book for Navajo country called Living from Livestock. Though one or two items are outdated (such as the recommendation to build radial grazing cells) it is a wonderfully illustrated and trenchant introduction to the relationship of grazing to ecosystem function in an arid environment. Thanks to Sam we are able to offer it as downloadable pdfs. (Right click, Save As, to download.)

Allan Savory on desertification and climate change

Allan Savory gave this talk in Ireland in November 2009. About 58 minutes.

Natural lawn mowers can benefit the carbon cycle


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