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Old 16.06.2019, 18:02
Blueangel Blueangel is offline
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Re: Switzerland want your undies

"It's an unusual request from the Federal Research Institute Agroscope: On Wednesday, 19 June 2019, the Swiss are to bury cotton underpants in the ground for the "Day of Underground Life". After two months, the underpants should be shovelled out again, says Agroscope. The more rotten the underpants are, the more active the soil creatures have been and the healthier the soil is, writes the research institute on its website.

The event is part of a research project by Agroscope and ETH Zurich. So-called cotton squares will be buried on different fields with different farming systems on this day. For the researchers, the central question is whether the degree of rotting is related to the diversity of species in the soil. Parallel to the research project, the population is to bury their own cotton underpants on the Agroscope field in Zurich - in line with the international #SoilYourUndies campaign.

"A living organism"

The more isopods, earthworms, fungi, bacteria and springtails are in the soil, the better? "You could say that," says Marcel van der Heijden of Agroscope. Under our feet there is an enormous variety of living organisms, fungi and bacteria that do an extremely important job, says the researcher. "It is estimated that around 25 percent of all biodiversity lives underground," says van der Hejden. "This is not dead matter, but a gigantic living organism.

The aim of the underpants campaign is to sensitize the population to the need to treat the soil as considerately as possible. For example, it is advisable to use compost instead of mineral fertiliser in one's own garden. And for farmers, crop rotations and covering the soil in winter have a positive effect. Van der Heijden says: "The aim of the research will be to identify how farmers can work the soil so that it remains the basis for good yields for future generations".

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