The Living Soil Essay

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Their biological activity depends on the organic matter supply.

Nutrient exchanges between organic matter, water and soil are essential to soil fertility and need to be maintained for sustainable production purposes.

Earthworms, invertebrates and microscopic organisms use the fallen leaves and other decaying matter as food.

They break it down and recycle the nutrients so they can be used again and again.

Its composition and breakdown rate affect: the soil structure and porosity; the water infiltration rate and moisture holding capacity of soils; the diversity and biological activity of soil organisms; and plant nutrient availability.

Many common agricultural practices, especially ploughing, disc-tillage and vegetation burning, accelerate the decomposition of soil organic matter and leave the soil susceptible to wind and water erosion.

It maintains surface residues, roots and soil organic matter, helps control weeds, and enhances soil aggregation and intact large pores, in turn allowing water infiltration and reducing runoff and erosion.

In addition to making plant nutrients available, the diverse soil organisms that thrive in such conditions contribute to pest control and other vital ecological processes.

If these were never recycled, we’d be knee deep in insect body parts.

Imagine all of the fallen leaves, potato peelings and cow dung that would still exist.


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