Source: Ohio State University

From food security to climate change to energy demands, the world faces a myriad of critical sustainability issues, all whose potential solution may lie right beneath our feet.

Rattan Lal, an Ohio State University soil scientist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, suggests that soil and its resources are the answer, and sustainability can be achieved through the realization of 10 basic management principles.

"We are dealing with 10 global issues at the moment: food security, availability of water, climate change, energy demand, waste disposal, extinction of biodiversity, soil degradation and desertification, poverty, political and ethnic instability, and rapid population increase," said Lal, with the School of Environment and Natural Resources. "The solution to all of these lies in soil management. It doesn't mean that agriculture is the only solution, but it plays a major role in addressing these issues."

Lal synthesized years of scientific literature on soil degradation and the positive impacts of restoration and developed 10 basic principles of sustainable soil management. The principles, published in the January/February 2009 issue of Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, as well as the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, are meant to encourage policymakers to support soil amendment practices.

"I'd like to see policymakers implement policies which will encourage the adoption of such practices as conservation agriculture, integrated nutrient management, crop rotation, agroforestry