The Living Soil Essay

The Living Soil Essay-65
We even create soil habitats by building compost systems.A spadeful of soil and food scraps or grass clippings added to an empty bin soon becomes home to insects, earthworms and microscopic creatures.

We even create soil habitats by building compost systems.A spadeful of soil and food scraps or grass clippings added to an empty bin soon becomes home to insects, earthworms and microscopic creatures.

It maintains surface residues, roots and soil organic matter, helps control weeds, and enhances soil aggregation and intact large pores, in turn allowing water infiltration and reducing runoff and erosion.

In addition to making plant nutrients available, the diverse soil organisms that thrive in such conditions contribute to pest control and other vital ecological processes.

It’s just as well that soil organisms break down and recycle plant and animal wastes.

Consider just one type of waste – insect exoskeletons.

Believe it or not, the weight of earthworms under our native forests is greater than all of the other animals living in the forest!

Earthworms aren’t the only creatures on the forest floor – the leaf litter may hold hundreds of species of invertebrates like slaters and stick insects.Around 25% of everything alive on the Earth uses soil as a habitat.Some animals live on top of the soil (in leaf litter or other organic matter), and others live below the surface.In addition to providing nutrients and habitat to organisms living in the soil, organic matter also binds soil particles into aggregates and improves the water holding capacity of soil. However, even in small amounts, organic matter is very important. Healthy soil is teeming with microscopic and larger organisms that perform many vital functions including converting dead and decaying matter as well as minerals to plant nutrients.Different soil organisms feed on different organic substrates.New Zealand native forests tend to be humid places that do not have big changes in temperature.Our forests may not have as many different animals as other rainforests around the world, but there is a lot of life under the ground.Some things live in the soil for their entire lives, and others live there for just a part of their lives. Things living in the soil depend on each other and on non-living soil components like organic matter and minerals to survive. For example, a soil that has lots of pore spaces for water and air usually supports more life than one consisting of hard clods.There are billions of microorganisms living in the soil too, but they are too small for us to see. This interdependence and transfer of food energy is called a soil food web. Temperature and rainfall also influence the types of plants and animals that live in the soil.Earthworms, invertebrates and microscopic organisms use the fallen leaves and other decaying matter as food.They break it down and recycle the nutrients so they can be used again and again.

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