英语家园

 找回密码
 注册

QQ登录

只需一步,快速开始

搜索

土壤的神秘奇迹

发布者: 五毒 | 发布时间: 2022-11-22 23:02| 查看数: 34| 评论数: 0|



Under our feet, there is an unseen world more diverse than all the tropical rainforests combined.

在我们脚下,有着一个比所有热带雨林加起来更多样化的隐秘世界。

Teeming with microbial life and critters, large and small, this hidden world of soil is on every single continent.

这个世界充满了大大小小的细菌和微生物,土壤的隐秘世界藏在世界的每个角落。

But most of us know little to nothing about this vast world under our feet.

但是大多数人都对我们脚下的这个广袤世界知之甚少。

And for most of my life, I was no exception.

在我人生的大部分时间里,我也是其中一员。

I grew up (a) very curious and adventurous kid.

我从小就是一个好奇心强、爱冒险的孩子。

I spent a lot of time climbing trees and falling out of them.

我总是在爬树,再摔下来。

And I spent a lot of time getting really dirty.

总是弄得灰头土脸。

In college, I had to take a class for a science requirement,

读大学的时候,我读了一门科学必修课,

and I was shocked to discover that being really curious and loving dirt could be a legitimate career.

我惊讶地发现,好奇心重、喜欢“灰”头“土”脸真的可以是一份正经工作。

So it took no convincing whatsoever for me to change my major, and that's how I became an ecologist.

所以我毫不犹豫地转了专业,然后成为了一名生态学家。

In graduate school, I studied how the loss of a seed disperser, in this case, the winnow ant, affected the plants that they disperse.

读研究生的时候,我研究了种子传播媒介的流失,此处即盘腹蚁,会对它们传播的植物造成什么影响。

In my research site, we were discovering that these ants were moving up in elevation to escape a rapidly changing climate.

在我的研究地点,我们发现,这种蚁正在提高栖息地海拔,逃避快速变化的气候。

But they were leaving the plants they dispersed behind.

但是它们抛下了本该传播种子的植物。

So while I came to grad school to study ants, I all of a sudden found myself studying climate change.

所以我突然发现,在我读研、研究蚂蚁的时候,我其实就是在研究气候变化。

And because ants nest in soils, I had to learn a lot more about soil.

由于蚂蚁在土壤中筑巢,我还得学习很多关于土壤的知识。

What I couldn't have predicted, as that young, curious, budding ecologist,

我没料到作为一名年轻好奇、初露头角的生态学家,

was that I would spend the next decade of my life thinking about the invisible army of soil microbes and how we can harness their awesome powers to help address climate change.

我竟然要把接下来十年的时间花在研究这一大堆看不见的土壤微生物上,我们又该如何利用它们的巨大力量帮助应对气候变化。

But before we get to all of that, let's start at the beginning.

在谈这一点之前,我们还是从头开始吧。

Soils are considered to be the skin of the Earth.

土壤被认为是地球的皮肤。

They're only a few meters thick, but they support all agriculture and every single terrestrial biome.

它只有几米厚,却支撑着所有农业活动,维系着所有的陆地生物群系。

Soils help protect our food supply, clean our water, boost our immune systems, and they serve as a source for some critical medicines,

土壤保障着我们的食物供应,清洁我们的水系,增强我们的免疫系统,还是一些重要药品的来源,

including many that have yet to be discovered.

包括一些尚未被开发的药品。

Without Earth's exceedingly thin layer of soil and its multitude of organisms, we would not eat, and humanity as we know it may not exist.

如果没有地球这极其纤薄的土壤层和它丰富的微生物群,我们就没有东西吃,我们所知的人类也不会存在。

And soils, like many good things, they take time to develop.

土壤和很多好东西一样,需要时间发展。

They form over hundreds to thousands of years as rocks break down and plants and animals decompose.

它们是经过成百上千年岩石分解和动植物分解形成的。

As soils form, they accumulate and store carbon.

土壤形成时,会积攒、储存碳。

In fact, there are billions of tons of carbon stored underground.

事实上,地下储存着数十亿吨的碳。

Two to three times more than what we have in the atmosphere.

比我们大气中的要多两到三倍。

Plants and soil work in collaboration to drive the single most important transformation of carbon on this planet, photosynthesis.

植物和土壤一起进行着地球上最重要的碳转化过程——光合作用。

Plants take carbon dioxide from the air, and they combine it with water and sunshine to create sugars.

植物从空气中吸收二氧化碳,利用水和太阳光,生成糖类。

And of course, to grow plants.

当然,植物也会借此生长。

Plants and their sugars eventually decompose in the soil, feeding the microbes.

植物和它们的糖最终会在土壤中分解,滋养微生物。

In fact, most of the carbon that comes in through plants ends up in soil at some point.

其实大部分经过植物吸收的碳迟早会到达土壤。

The carbon cycle continues.

碳循环仍在继续。

Microbes and their carbon eventually break down, and the carbon from the microbes sticks to soil particles,

微生物和它们的碳最终会分解,来自微生物的碳会粘附在土壤颗粒上,

creating what we call soil clumps or aggregates.

形成我们俗称的“土块”或“团聚物”。

Because microbial carbon is sticky.

原因是微生物碳的粘性很强。

So when that microbial carbon ends up in a clump, it's physically protected from further decomposition.

所以当微生物碳最终变成土块形态时,土块就不会再次分解了。

And what we know now is that the majority of soil carbon that is sequestered is actually dead microbes or what we call microbial necromass.

我们现在知道大部分被吸收的土壤碳都是死去的微生物,即“土壤微生物残体”。

That necromass can stick around in soils for decades to millennia, especially if we leave soils undisturbed.

这些残体会在土壤中留存几十年、几千年,尤其是在我们不去动这些土壤的情况下。

But over the last 12,000 years,

但在过去的12000年里,

we have lost billions of tons of carbon from our soil as humans converted grasslands and forests into agricultural fields and range lands,

人们把草地和森林变成农田和牧场,修路,建设城市,

building roads and cities.

导致了土壤中几十亿吨碳的流失。

One of the major drivers of that loss was the plow, which, at the time,

流失的主要原因之一是耕地,在当时,

was a major technological breakthrough that really revolutionized agriculture and altered the trajectory of human history.

耕地是一个巨大的科技突破,彻底改变了农业,也改变了人类历史的轨迹。

With each pass of the plow, those plant roots and soil aggregates that we know are really important are broken apart,

每犁一遍地,这些非常重要的植物根茎和土块就会被铲碎,

exposing carbon to decomposition.

让碳分解。

Today we use more than a third of our land to feed and clothe billions of people on this planet.

如今,超过三分之一的土地被用来为地球上几十亿人提供食物和衣物。

But we're losing our soils at an alarming rate, and with it, we're losing their fertility.

但是我们正在以惊人的速度失去我们的土壤,也就是说我们正在失去土壤的肥力。

Without that soil, it's going to be a lot harder to feed what is going to be close to 10 billion people on this planet by 2050.

如果没有土壤,到2050年,要养活地球上将近100亿的人口将会困难得多。

That's going to put a lot more pressure on what is already a disappearing and resoundingly underappreciated resource.

这会让这种已经在逐渐消失、明显缺乏重视的资源压力倍增。

There is no machine that can bring soil back.

没有一台机器可以重新制造出土壤。

No technology that can do what thousands of years of rock weathering and biological activity have achieved.

没有一种技术可以达到岩石风化和生物活动的千年成果。

But we can build our soils and put more carbon underground with a little help from plants and microbes.

但是我们可以借助一些植物和微生物的力量,重建土壤,在地下再储存一些碳。

Rebuilding soil is going to require us to fundamentally rethink our reliance on technology and chemicals to deliver what soils can do on their own:

重建土壤要求我们彻底重新考量我们对科技和化学物质的依赖,由此达到土壤靠自己就能做到的事:

support life.

维持生命。

And life in soil is mostly microbial.

土壤中的生命主要是微生物。

The Dutch scientist, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, saw tiny organisms he called the "wee beasties," under his microscope about 350 years ago.

大约350年前,荷兰科学家安东尼·范·列文虎克在他的显微镜下看到了被他称为“小野兽”的微小生物。

And with the rapid innovation of molecular and computational tools,

随着分子和计算工具的快速发展,

we are finally getting a sneak peek at who they are and how they make their way in the world.

我们终于可以一见它们的真容,它们如何在世界里生存。

Here's the thing.

事情是这样的。

A teaspoon of soil holds billions of organisms, things like bacteria, fungi, protists and archaea.

一小勺土壤包含了几十亿个有机体,比如细菌、真菌、原生生物和古生菌。

These microbes are the movers and shakers of nature's carbon cycle.

这些微生物左右着自然界的碳循环。

They drive really important processes in soil, they take organic matter and convert it into complex carbon molecules.

它们会促进土壤中的重要进程,将有机物质转化为复合碳分子。

And having more carbon in soil is transformative.

土壤保有更多的碳会带来巨大改变。

As carbon accumulates, agricultural fields can hold on to more water and more nutrients,

随着碳的积累,农田可以保持更多的水和更多的养分,

building resilience that helps them deal with the ups and downs of a changing climate.

帮助农田建立应对气候变化的抗风险能力。

That resilience means plants can grow more consistently, even when the weather is fickle.

这种抗风险能力意味着即使是在变化无常的天气条件下,植物也可以不受影响地生长。

And the awesome thing is carbon-rich soils help buffer us against what is an uncertain climate future.

很棒的一点是,碳含量高的土壤可以为我们应对未来未知的气候提供缓冲。

The trick is to really rethink how we do agriculture.

诀窍就在于重新考虑农耕的方式。

So there is the good news,

有一个好消息,

which is there are some tried and true ways

我们确实尝试过一些方式,

that we can get more carbon in our soils and build our soils back.

将更多的碳送入土壤,重建土壤。

We can plow less, and we can make sure that we have roots in the ground year round,

我们可以少耕田,确保地里全年都有植物根茎,

feeding the microbes and powering that microbial engine humming under our feet.

让微生物有东西吃,发动我们脚下的这台微生物“机器”。

And we can do this.

我们能做到的。

The other thing is, diversity is the key ingredient in this recipe.

另外关键的一点是多样性。

Diverse plant communities support diverse microbial communities that can transform and store more carbon.

多样的植物种群支撑着多样的微生物种群,它们可以转化碳、储存碳。

Diversity is good for soils, and it's good for climate mitigation.

多样性对土壤很有益,对缓解气候问题也很有益。

Just like we need every microbe, we need every farmer and rancher, every climate solution and every solver.

就如同我们需要每一种微生物,我们也需要每一位农民、每一位牧场主、每一个气候解决方案和每一位解决问题的人。

So ... Healthy, carbon-rich soils matter today more than ever.

所以……富含碳的健康土壤对我们的当下至关重要。

The other great thing about carbon-rich soils is they help farmers have more consistent agricultural operations and more sustainable ones that can withstand the ups and downs of a changing climate.

碳含量高的土壤还有一个好处,它可以让农民的农业操作更一致、更可持续,能够适应气候变化带来的影响。

That's a huge win for the people that grow our food, it's a win for climate, and it's a win for us consumers.

对于为我们种植粮食的人来说,这可是件大好事,对于气候、消费者来说都是大好事。

So how do we do it?

那么我们该怎么做呢?

Well, there are three simple things we can do.

我们能做的有三件事。

Number one, we have to protect our soils and the carbon they already hold.

首先,我们必须保护我们的土壤和它们已经储存的碳。

Number two, we can get more carbon underground by growing diverse, climate-adapted crops.

第二,我们可以通过种植更多样、更耐气候变化的作物,将更多的碳送入地下。

And number three, we can let the microbes do their thing.

第三,我们得让微生物自由发挥。

Leave them alone by leaving the soil undisturbed.

不要去动土壤,让微生物做该做的事。

It sounds simple, and that's because it kind of is.

听起来很简单,确实也不难。

But there are some questions that are left to be answered, and there's a lot of room for us to innovate.

但还有一些问题有待回答,我们还有很大的创新空间。

We need to track and measure our climate progress.

我们需要跟踪和衡量我们的气候发展。

We need to develop more climate-resilient crop varieties that can grow deeper roots and pump carbon underground deeper.

我们得研发出更适应气候变化的作物品种,根茎更长,将碳送入更深的地底。

And we need to rethink our economic models and agriculture and help support and incentivize these carbon-sequestering agricultural practices.

我们得重新调整我们的经济模式和农业,支持、鼓励农业碳汇行为。

So lots of room for innovation, lots of room for research.

所以创新的空间很大,研究的空间也很大。

Good news for us scientists.

这对我们科学家来说是个好消息。

But we don't have time to waste.

但我们没有时间可以浪费了。

Climate change is here and it's affecting all of us, whether we know it or not.

无论我们是否意识到了,气候变化迫在眉睫,影响着我们每一个人。

It's affecting every single ecosystem, including agriculture.

它影响着每一个生态系统,包括农业。

Soils are the literal foundation of life on this planet, the reason that we can eat and the climate solution just waiting to be unlocked.

土壤是地球生命的坚实基础,是我们食物的来源,也是静待我们启用的气候解决方案。

So let's build back our soils, help our planet by looking down to the ground.

让我们重建土壤,脚踏“实地”拯救我们的地球。

Thank you.

谢谢。


最新评论

快速回复 返回顶部 返回列表