Soil fertility

Soil Structure Life Beneath

Grassland soilsGrowing food and fibre crops require soils to be maintained in a suitable state that provides good soil structure, water retention and nutrient availability. In soils that are healthy places for plants to grow, the interactions between chemistry (pH, nutrients), physics (soil structure and water balance) and biology (earthworms, microbes, plant roots) are optimised for each particular place and environment.

Soil provides the essential link between the components that make up our environment, so protecting the health of soils is critical to environmental sustainability. Soil forms these links through:

  • Exchanging gases, such as carbon dioxide, with the atmosphere
  • Regulating the flow of water and rainfall in the water cycle
  • Providing nutrients for plant growth by degrading organic matter and transforming chemical fertilisers
  • Storing, degrading and transforming organic materials and contaminants that are applied through animal and human activities or deposited by flood waters and aerial deposition.

Managing and protecting soil is therefore an essential part of protecting the environment as a whole.



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