Soil often doesn’t seem like something we should be concerned with. What is it – and why is it so important?
Soil is a mixture of materials from bits of rocks and minerals to organic matter from dead plants and animals. It is, of course, home to the roots of plants and small organisms which provide the foundations upon which countless ecosystems depend. Sadly, soil is degrading which can have a devastating effect right up the food chain.
Pesticides are used when crops are farmed intensively in order to prevent insects and other invertebrates from eating crops. These can drip down into the soil making it uninhabitable.
Forests can be greatly beneficial for soil by dropping leaves annually which provide organic matter which aids water retention and nutrition in the soil. With forests removed and replaced by farmland often nutrients are sprayed on crops – but these are tailored to crop type and do not encourage a varied and balanced ecosystem.