Soil is much more than just “dirt” that holds up the plant.

“Soil is just dirt to hold the plant up.”  — This is a statement that I, and many other individuals can easily disagree with.  However, it seems that a majority of the population agrees with this statement. It is actually fairly easy to adopt the idea of soil being just dirt, intended only to support the plant, but soil is much more than that.

It is easy to overlook soil, and how crucial it is to all levels of life, because it’s not something we notice on a day-to-day basis.  Plants, bodies of water, animals, etc., perform events crucial to the environment that we can, for the most part, see and feel.  The soil, however, is essentially just the dirt under our feet.  If an individual does not want to go into the details of the complexity of soil,  it is easy to adopt the opinion of it being simply dust underfoot.

Soil has so much complexity, that someone could dedicate their entire life to studying it through pedology, or edaphology, and still only cover a small portion of study.

Why is soil so important?  Aside from water, what do animals and humans need for survival? Nutrition. Some of their nutrition comes from other animals, but those animals have to eat something.  Plants support the entire animal kingdom,either by primary or secondary consumption.

What feeds the plants? Plants utilize energy from the sun to perform photosynthesis, and this is their main nutrient, but there are nutrients in the soil that act as supplements for the plant, and affect the production of the plant. Like people, plants benefit from supplements in their nutrition.

There are several biotic and abiotic factors that affect the characteristic of the soil and will determine the plants ability to grow.  Soil supports plants, that’s a mutual opinion, but soil does more than just that.

There are many layers of soil that perform important functions, however the most important of these is the layer of top soil.  The top soil is the layer from which plants absorb minerals and receive benefits from other living organisms.

The soil in an ecosystem is important, it affects plant growth, which then significantly affects the population of other animals and organisms. Soil also supports many organisms such as earthworms, that need the soil environment to survive.  Soil does not just support plants, it supports the entire ecosystem.

  

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