5 Ways Climate Change Is Affecting Soil

Climate change is an ever-present and ever-growing threat. It’s changing our environmental landscape and affecting the natural balance of the world. One of the way’s it’s doing this is by affecting our soil. Good soil is essential for humans as it allows us to grow food. The better the quality of soil, the healthier the food is. It is also essential to carbon minimisation and animal health. Our soil assessment team have put together this list detailing how climate change is affecting our soil.

1.    Irrigation

This is the biggest way climate change is affecting the soil. Soil relies on water to grow. Rainfall is a large contributor to crops and soil growth. Too much or too little rain can drastically affect the outcome of the crops and the soil. This is already starting to affect rural communities in Central and West Africa

Severe droughts are forcing them to adapt and seek out new irrigation techniques. This may lead to further water supply issues as these communities will have to allocate more water towards irrigation as opposed to drinking.

2.    Soil moisture and droughts

Moisture is a key ingredient in the life and health of soil. Moisture is affected by things like temperature, precipitation and soil characteristics. With climate change bringing on droughts, the moisture within the soil is unable to thrive – resulting in low moisture levels. These low levels affect the quality of crops as well as the general number of them that are yielded.

The availability of soil moisture sources is declining as the climate changes – spelling trouble for the plants and crops that we grow. If you’re worried about your soil quality, then a soil assessment team can take a look for you.

3.    Carbon levels

In a similar fashion to trees, soil can store carbon. Carbon dioxide (CO2) increases temperatures and humidity in our atmosphere. Soil is able to store carbon, removing it from our atmosphere. Unfortunately, due to the impact of rising temperatures, the soil will be able to hold less carbon.

The less soil moisture there is, the less healthy the soil is. This will negatively impact the soil’s ability to hold carbon. According to a study performed, carbon intake within the soil will reach its peak shortly. Once that occurs, the positive effects will turn negative and instead of soaking up carbon, the soil will become a source of carbon – further accelerating the climate change effects.

4.    Pest management

Pests are always going to be a problem for crop growth and health. The problem that climate change brings is that with the warmer weather that is estimated to develop over the next few years, certain pests that may have died under colder conditions will now continue to thrive through milder winters – enabling them to continue to jeopardize the number of crops that are yielded.

If you continue to replant your crops, then it could affect the health of the plant in the long run. A short-term solution for this is crop rotations. This is where you would change the position that you’d plant your crops in to encourage biodiversity within the soil.

5.    Soil erosion

Climate change and soil erosion are a synonymous nightmare. Soil erosion can have grave effects on the moisture and nutrients that lie within them. One of the primary causes of erosion is from precipitation runoff. The rainfall breaks down soil aggregates and spreads them. The water runoff will occur when there is an excess of water on a slope – causing it to travel. With climate change increasing the temperature as well as the precipitation, soil erosion will increase exponentially in the future. 

Do you need a soil assessment?

Whether you grow produce, plant crops or simply cherish your garden, you’ll want to ensure that your soil is in good healthAlpha Environmental can help you with that. Our highly qualified and experienced consultants can undergo soil assessments if you require. A soil assessment is crucial in understanding your soil’s health and ability to grow produce and plants effectively.

If you require a soil assessment – or simply would like to know more about the other various services that we provide – then please do not hesitate to give us a call on 1300 039 181. Alternatively, you can also fill out the enquiry form on our website.