Soil is more than just dirt—its complex microgeography consists of a wide variety of interdependent living and nonliving components. The nonliving can be separated into organic (carbon-based) and mineral matter, each having different physical and chemical properties, but each serving vital roles in the soil’s proper functioning. The living encompasses micro- and macro- organisms which contribute to soil structure and unlock vital nutrients for plant consumption. The absence of matter, that is, empty space, is also a vital component of soil as it allows for water storage and root permeation. Therefore, the health of soil is dependent on a balance between soil chemistry, physics, and biology. Understanding this balance is key to understanding soil health.
Soil is important to our lives—our access to nutritious food, clean water and air, fuel, medicines, and protection from drought and flooding are all dependent on healthy soil. Soil may even be a key for tackling climate change. Thus, maintaining healthy soil is essential to maintain our way of life. So…
What makes soil healthy?
And what can we do to promote soil health?
Let’s dive into the science behind this crucial resource!