Healthy, functional soils are critical to the long-term sustainability of agriculture.
The 5 main functions of soil include:
- Maintain biodiversity and productivity
- Water and solute flow
- Filtering and buffering
- Nutrient Cycling
- Structural Support
Healthy soil is productive soil and soil biology relates to the organisms within the soil that carry out a wide range of processes that are important for soil health and plant fertility.
The more organic matter retained in the soil, the greater the amount of food for biological activity in the soil resulting in more profitable and sustainable farming.
Agricultural management practices, such as the over-use and application of synthetic fertilisers and chemicals can modify biological processes that may benefit plants in the short term, but cause damage to the soil/plant ecosystem in the longer term.
Soil biology provides both direct and indirect benefits to the environment by:
- Decomposing plant residues
- Regulate plant nutrient supply and loss
- Improve soil structure- aggregate stability
- Regulate water quality by filtering nutrients
- Capture and release greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide)
For more in-depth information search the internet for:
- How does good soil health benefit the environment?
- The importance of highly functioning soils in modern agriculture