Humus Management for Healthy Soils & Soil Life

High financial investments are made in climate protection, flood protection, erosion control and costly water treatment. But hardly any attention is paid to the fact that healthy soils are needed!

To secure the future and especially in view of climate change, increasing the humus content of soils and supporting soil life is hardly needed. We have to regenerate the reduced water absorption, storage and filtering capacity and the increased susceptibility to erosion – i.e. the disturbed soil functions – of our soils used for agriculture and forestry.

Wise humus management thus supports the ecosystem services of soils, such as water absorption, water storage and flood prevention.

The production of own manure and fodder via the N-fixation of legumes as well as the reduction of fuel demand during soil cultivation through root loosening with catch crop mixtures and mixed crops reduces energy demand and is climate-friendly.

Together with the use of compost, these measures significantly improve the humus content. Research shows that organically managed soils can bind 2 x more carbon (FAO 2007) and store twice as much water (KBU 2016) as conventionally managed soils. This is because the high humus content promotes soil life and the development of a good soil structure.

Agroforestry systems also contribute to the build-up of humus down to deep soil layers, Keyline Design creates water retention.

Offer: Store more water in the soil – with biopores – lecture or seminar

Offer: Create sponge landscapes – lecture or seminar

Offer: Humus build-up – measures & potentials – lecture or seminar

Offer: Organic fertilisers & soil conditioners, which ones are good? – Lecture or seminar

Offer: Regenerative agriculture – better at building up humus? – Lecture or seminar

Offer: Potentials of permaculture & agroforestry systems – lecture or seminar

Selection of publications relating to the topic:

Beste, A., Lorentz, N. (2022): Ecosystem Soil – Bringing nature-based solutions on climate change
and biodiversity conservation down to earth. (Ed.): giz/BMUV

Beste, A. (2022): GREENWASHING & HIGH TECH – Faking it: (un-)sustainable solutions for agriculture.

Beste, A. (2022): Keynote lecture ‘On the state of soils in Europe’s agriculture’.

Beste, A. (2021): Agroforestry and CAP – all Talk, no Trees.

With the collaboration of A. Beste; EEB (2021): Carbon Farming for Climate, Nature, and Farmers report

Beste, A. – co-author and supporter (2021): Position statement on soil carbon sequestration and its possible remuneration through CO2 certificates.

Beste, A. (2021): A Soil Scientist’s Perspective – Carbon Farming, CO2 Certification & Carbon Sequestration in Soil.

Beste, A. (2019): Comparing Organic, Agroecological and Regenerative Farming.

Beste, A.; Idel, A. (2019): The belief in technology and big data. The myth of climate smart agriculture – why less bad isn’t good.

Beste, A. (2018): SoilMatters …. On humus, soil structures & the limits of no-till. On ARC2020

Beste, A.(2015): Down to Earth – The soil we live off. Study on the state of soil in Europeans agriculture.

More publications on humus can be found here.