The Importance of Healthy Soils
Healthy soils are one of our most valuable resources providing us with fertile lands for growing crops, grazing, diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes as well as clean air and water. It is also an incredibly important tool for drastically reducing CO2 emissions and building climate resilence in local ecosystems. According to the USDA, there are five essential functions of healthy soils:
- Regulating water – Soil helps control where rain, snowmelt, and irrigation water goes. Water flows over the land or into and through the soil.
- Sustaining plant and animal life – The diversity and productivity of living things depends on soil.
- Filtering and buffering potential pollutants – The minerals and microbes in soil are responsible for filtering, buffering, degrading, immobilizing, and detoxifying organic and inorganic materials, including industrial and municipal by-products and atmospheric deposits.
- Cycling nutrients – Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and many other nutrients are stored, transformed, and cycled in the soil.
- Providing physical stability and support – Soil structure provides a medium for plant roots. Soils also provide support for human structures and protection for archeological treasures.