According to the authors, soil fertility—the basic capacity to grow and sustain plants—is in crisis, with each location and biome of animal, plant, invertebrate, and microbial life experiencing its own unique form of degradation and disequilibrium. Modern agricultural practices have contributed to the soil fertility crisis in multiple ways:
● Rapidly changing the balance among key soil nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and phosphorus.
● Greatly increasing soil, air, and water contents of chemical residues that reduce biodiversity while encouraging pesticide and herbicide resistance in aggressive species. For example, global analyses suggest that terrestrial insect abundance is declining by 9% on average each decade, and a reduction in insectivorous bird populations has been linked to higher concentrations of neonicotinoid insecticides.
● Altering the natural organization of organic and inorganic soil nutrients through tillage techniques that break up soil structure.
Regenerative agriculture is adaptable to soils of different climates, biomes, and degree of fertility. This research team emphasizes that, in extreme loss of soil health, regenerative practices may be integrated into conventional approaches as a strategy for rehabilitating highlydamaged fields. Soil types that would benefit from this dual strategy include fields that have been stripped of living organic mass through long-term intensive food production and those yet unable to support numerous life forms due to containing high levels of biocides.
This study examines the origins and development of regenerative agriculture philosophy and practice, which encompasses concepts as diverse as nutrient density of food produced, crop yields, topsoil conservation, animal and insect welfare, and the cycling of essential nutrients among earth, plants, animals, microbes, air, and water.