For 160 years, the Rothamsted Research facility, UK, has been sampling, testing, and preserving soil samples. They have the world’s longest running agronomic tests, comparing the productivity of different types of cropping systems. They have trials that aim to gage the effects of nitrogen laden precipitation on crop growth, and most fascinating of all- they have what could best be described as a soil time capsule.
Thousands of glass bottles, dating back to the 1850s, filled with soil. The Director of programs, Keith Goulding, described to our crew how the soils in the bottles represented snapshots of time. How each soil sample was unique. How major world events, such as radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, could be detected in the soils from 1986 and thereafter. Our visit to Rothamstead drove home the theme that the world over- our actions are bound together by the interconnected global skin of soil.
– By Jessy Beckett