Soil Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Soil?
Soil is the uppermost layer of Earth’s surface and is one of the most important natural resources. Soil plays a vital role in sustaining life on our planet, as it acts as a medium for plants to grow, provides nutrients and water to sustain them, filters pollutants from groundwater and offers habitats for insects, worms and other invertebrates. It also serves as a buffer against climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.The composition of soil varies widely depending on its location and parent material (material that was present before it became soil). Commonly found components include organic matter (e.g., leaves), mineral particles such as sand or clay, air pockets, water-carrying channels such as those made by earthworms, living organisms like microorganisms or fungi, plant roots growing into the soil matrix and even animal burrows within the substratum. The unique combination of these components results in soils with different properties that can be used for various purposes ranging from agriculture to construction projects. When managed properly, soil has many benefits including better crop yields through improved fertility; increased infiltration rates which reduce flooding; reduced runoff which lowers erosion; improved pollutant filtration capacity; enhanced habitat for wildlife; higher levels of biodiversity; greater resistance to drought conditions…the list goes on. Unfortunately though many practices used have caused degradation of soils around the world resulting in less productive land leading to food shortages or environmental damage due to excess nutrients entering waterways etc. Therefore sustainable management strategies are needed so that we can continue enjoying these benefits while preserving this valuable natural resource at the same time.