During the last months, I have talked about various plants and fungi, but I haven’t talked about something, which all of them need – except Tillandsien – and it is the soil. The soil is the key to start… basically everything.
Imagine, without (clean, nutritious and healthy) soil there wouldn’t be agriculture, trees and plants, and this would affect everything, the whole ecosystem. This is why when corporations or consumers pollute their soil, is like pointing the gun towards ourselves.
Let’s start our journey in the garden. You go outside and dip up some soil. In that small amount of soil, you can see more diversity than anywhere else. On the top (humus) layer, you can find various plants, seeds, mosses, fungi, bugs, bacteria and even animals (if it is a big piece of soil of course :)), the more you go down (top soil – subsoil and finally bedrock) and more hidden world appears in front of us. You can find a waste network of plant roots, the underground network of fungi, “gardening” earthworms, maybe some borrowing animal (mole) and millions – billions of microbes.
This clearly shows that soil is providing home, food and generally life for all of us. But what is it made of?
– 45% minerals
– 25% water
– 5% organic matter
– 25% air*
I will not go into too much in the detail, but all the 4 elements above are crucial to create a healthy cycle of life – if you are interested in it more detailed, feel free to read about it here.
* data from United States Department of Agriculture
We can also talk about multiple type of soil. There are areas which are rich in minerals, while others are poor. Different colours, from brown, white, red or black. Different textures from rocky to sandy places, but surprisingly nature found a way to adopt to most of these terrains and conditions. The soil texture is dependent on 2 aspects, such as natural (weather) and non-natural (human) interventions. The biggest changes occur, because of humanity, agricultural and urban development interventions and climate change.
Sadly, due to humanity we are faster and faster destroying the soil. With the increasing population we need bigger and bigger areas for agriculture, and where agriculture is present it destroys the ecological balance of the soil. By nature, the upper layer of the soil is slowly losing its mineral content due to wind and water – this is what we call soil erosion. To this soil erosion process, agriculture plays a significant role. It has speed up the process by 10-40 times.
As you can see from the map, huge areas will be affected in the near future if we can’t find a solution to soil erosion. Everyone can do a bit to preserve their healthy environment. The next time you plan to use chemicals in your garden, think about a more biologically friendly solution!