Why is soil important?

The major part of the earth’s surface is covered by water and the rest is covered by soil. The soil plays an important role in our day to day activities. Soil has its role directly or indirectly in all the life forms of the earth. Soil plays a major role in the existence of life on earth. Soil is needed by all living organisms on this planet. Plants and animals both require soil in many aspects. We have to take care of it and protect it for future generations.

What is soil?

The soil is a mixture that comprises minerals, organic matter, and living organisms. It forms the uppermost surface of the earth where life thrives and is the base of all agriculture. Due to the physical and chemical weathering of rocks, it comprises minerals and gravel, microbes, insects, decaying organic matter (humus), nutrients, water, and air.

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Formation of soil

We come across soil on the surface of the earth. We also see many types and colours of soil. Many of us must be wondering how soil is formed?. Let us now take a look at the formation of soil. Soil is formed by weathering of rocks. Solid rock can expose away in one of the three ways into the soil, which are given below

  • Mechanical Weathering: This process occurs on the surface of the earth due to physical conditions like air, wind, water and temperature.
  • Chemical Weathering: The process when rocks are broken down by chemical reactions is called chemical weathering.
  • Biological Weathering: In this process, living organisms weaken and subsequently disintegrate rocks, often by initiating mechanical or chemical weathering.

Soil Erosion

The natural process in which the topsoil of a field is carried away by physical sources such as wind and water is called soil erosion. Soil erosion removes or washes away all the basic nutrients needed by the plant for its growth. These are very much necessary for plants to grow and produce fruits. The main causes of soil erosion are listed below

  • Deforestation
  • Rainfall
  • Flooding
  • Agriculture
  • Grazing of animals
  • Mining

How to conserve soil?

Due to soil erosion, the topmost and fertile layer of soil is vanishing subsequently. The topmost layer of soil is a vital part of the soil and comprises various properties. Now, the soil conservation method has become a vital task for all human beings. We need to conserve soil for the good growth of plants and for healthier food that we obtain from plants. Conservation of soil is one among a few of the methods which have been tried to prevent soil erosion. By conserving soil we can also protect the fertility of the soil. Listed below are few ways to conserve soil

  • Terrace farming
  • Use of green manures
  • Not littering or throwing garbage on soil
  • Land pollution must be controlled
  • Minimal use of fertiliser and pesticides

Soil supports plant life and growth. Soil has now become the basic requirement for all lifeforms on earth just like air and water. Plants stay healthier and prepare food if the soil is rich in nutrients and it indirectly supports human beings for a good lifestyle. Soil is also considered as one of the major natural resources on the planet earth. Hence, it is our duty to conserve and protect the soil.

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