What are Soils?
How long does it take for soil to form? How does soil effect water quality? Soil erosion is the number one cause of pollution in the State of Tennessee. What causes soil to erode? How do we measure soil loss? What are the effects of soil erosion? What is sedimentation? Soil is the unconsolidated material on the immediate surface of the Earth that is used for plant growth. It is either mineral or organic and has been subjected to and shows the effect of genetic and environmental factors. For instance, climate affects soils through H2O and temperature changes. There are five soil forming factors and they are parent material, climate, topography, biological factors, and time. Learn more about the Five Factors.
Why is Soil Important?
Soil has a major impact on four main categories of our everyday life. These four categories are Food/Agriculture, Land Develpment, Vegetation, and Our Ecosystems. Soil surveys are surveys that examine the soil and determine which area of soil is best suitted for one these four categories. Soil surveys rank soils on a scale from I to VIII, and the lower the ranking the more fertile the soil. Without soil and the soil surveys these four categories would be unable to function, and our Earth as we know it would be greatly altered. If you would like to see which soil type is in your area click here Maps. Then click Soils Map at the bottom and you can zoom in and out to see what type of soil is near you.
What is a Soil’s Biology/Makeup?
Soil is made up of an incredibly diverse group of organisms . They range from one-celled bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa, to the more complex nematodes and micro-arthropods, to the visible earthworms, insects, and small vertebrates, and plants. Because all of these things live in the soil it makes it possible to have clean air, clean water, healthy plants, and moderated water flow. They affect soil structure and therefore soil erosion. All these things in soil can protect crops from pests and diseases, and also create more fertility in the soil so that crops can flourish. These things also keep our water supply clean by decomposing organic compounds, including manure, plant residue, and pesticides, which in turn destroys all pollutants. These organisms also make the soil more porous therefore reducing the water run-off and reducing flooding. These organisms of the soil prey on crop pests, which allows the crops to grow for harvest, and are a good food source for bigger animals as well. If it were not for the intricate and elaborate makeup of the soil then it would not be near as useful.
How Does Soil Impact the Environment?
Soil impacts the natural environment a great deal. Because soil has so many uses and is so intricate then there are many ways in which soil can affect the environment. There are four main environmental categories that soil has a large impact on. These categories are Water Quality, Air Quality/Global Warming, Wastewater Disposal, and it serves as a Natural Filter. To learn more about how soil impacts each category click the category. The environment is impacted in large part because soil is such a diverse and extensive source.