The Origin of the World. A natural history of the soil for those who walk upon it
Original title: L’Origine du monde. Une histoire naturelle du sol à l’intention de ceux qui le piétinent
“Nothing is less trivial than the floor of the cows … The biologist Marc-André Selosse, with pedagogy and poetry, deciphers the mechanisms at the origin of soils and their wealth” — La Recherche
“This book is an invitation to put on your boots to survey the soils of the undergrowth and meadows, to bend down, scratch and observe! ” — Science et Avenir”
Readers in the most hurry can be satisfied with the concluding parts which summarize each chapter.” But since a gardener in too much of a hurry misses flowering, it would be depriving himself of the anecdotes which are the salt and the happiness of the work. ” — La Croix
The soil beneath our feet contains nothing less than the origin of the world. It is swarming with life and it is possibly the most fascinating construction of the living world which has developed the gift of seizing its inherent inertia and controlling it. Soil harbors the largest part of our Earth’s biodiversity. There are more invisible species within the soil than those visible on the surface, which means that underground is also a great repository for the huge variety of mechanisms that enable our ecosystem to function. However, because the soil is opaque we only know its surface and because it is often considered “dirty”, it is only very recently that we have become aware of its importance and of the threats posed by urbanization, intensive agriculture and erosion. Not only is it struggling to perform its invaluable services to humanity but it is literally beginning to disappear before our eyes.
Diagnosing the harm and finding remedies can only be achieved by understanding soil and how it works. The author takes us on a journey underground that is accessible to all readers. No prior knowledge of chemistry, biology or geology is necessary. Marc-André Selosse introduces us to the soil’s components and the mechanisms within it. Then he takes us on a journey among the roots, microbes and mycorrhizae to explore underground plant life and help us understand how to treat soils so that they continue to fulfill their multiple and indispensable functions. In the process, the author shows us how the mechanisms of the underground world around us contain many simple explanations to the very everyday observations we might make. Finding invisible causes to what we see rejuvenates our vision of the world and helps us reconnect with the natural world.
- Over 10,000 copies sold