Key word: Decomposition
We spend lots of time looking down as we run, as we need to avoid the boulders and thorns. What we also see is poo- don’t worry not David’s or mine! No, sheep, horse and cattle dung.
Have you ever examined the dung of your local cow or horse? Well you should!
What we find is a whole community, a city if you like of worms, beetles, bugs and all manner of insects. They are busily converting the lovely moist brown stuff into nutrient rich soil. This is called decomposition.
Sometimes you can find grasses and plants already taking up residence in this magical kingdom of poo!
Now things have changed; we are in Argentina, on the eastern side of the Andes and it is extremely dry and hot. Many of the rivers only flow for a few months of the year and gravel storms pelt us as we run. Guess what we find here? ….. The poo is stone dry:
The spiky plants that are growing in the area we’re running through.
The sheep and goats’ poo is like marbles and the cattle and horse dung like rocks!!!
No good for creating new soil very quickly… but it does have a use…..
The dry land we are running through.

Question: Can you think what dung was used for in the past in the UK and other countries? 

Exercise: What can you find growing or “working” in your local horse/cow dung heap? Find out the name of each species that you find; draw a picture of them, take a photo and describe why they are useful.

Leave a Comment