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Soil biodiversity

(article, Culinate staff)

Everybody knows that diversity is generally a good thing, right? Your financial planner is always telling you to diversify your portfolio. Your gastroenterologist would love it if you would diversify the friendly bacteria in your gut. And, as Jim Robbins recently reminded us in the New York Times,_ the dirt under our feet needs to stay diverse.

Why all the love for diversity? Because it reduces risk. Your portfolio isn't exposed to any one stock too much. Your stomach is happy with all those probiotics. And the soil our crops rely on — not to mention the water we drink and how fast the planet is warming up from climate change — needs to teem with microorganisms:

bq. Forget the term “dumb as dirt.” The complex soil ecosystem is highly evolved and sophisticated. It processes organic waste into soil. It filters and cleans much of the water we drink and the air we breathe by retaining dust and pathogens. It plays a large role in how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. Soil, with all of its organic matter, is second to the oceans as the largest carbon repository on the planet. Annual plowing, erosion and other mismanagement releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, and exacerbates climate change.