Saturday, September 23, 2006

Come a Cropper

Gary Jones' posts over at Muck and Mystery never fail to get me thinking how the land works. Like this post where he promotes pasture over cropland. Which made me think back to an article at wikipedia about the paleopedological record that had wow-ed me recently:

Mollisols, the major agricultural soils of the present, are unique in their geological youth, being known from the Eocene but common only from the Miocene, as grasslands evolved.

"As grasslands evolved". Think about it. Can you see the Miocene era fire pushing back the forest and grass/soil biotic community evolving to extend their advantage? The evolution of grazing and grazers that followed? The soils darkening and levels of soil biologial activity ramping up?

Soils look so different in the forests versus in the grassland. Mollisols are awesome soils, and grazing is a natural component in their formation.