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Richard Bardgett

Earth Matters: How Soil Underlies Civilisation

Hay Festival 2016 , 

For much of history, soil has played a central role in society. Farmers and gardeners worldwide nurture their soil to provide their plants with water, nutrients and protection from pests and diseases; major battles have been aborted or stalled by the condition of soil; murder trials have been solved with evidence from soil; and, for most of us, our ultimate fate is the soil. The Professor of Ecology at Manchester explores the role soil plays in our lives and in the bio-geochemical cycles that allow the planet to function effectively. He considers how better soil management could combat global issues such as climate change, food shortages and the extinction of species.