What is soil and why is it important?
Soil is the uppermost part of the earth that is affected by the weathering of mineral components, erosion, and deposition, it consists of inorganic and organic matter. Importantly, it forms the natural medium for the growth of land-based vegetation as well as its nutrients and water. Soil is not all regolith, the upper proportion differs from lower material as having, high accumulation of organic matter, roots, soil organisms, and characteristic horizontal weathering, this is what we define as soil.
Soil provides many ecosystem services that sustain humanity e.g., food and fibre, water storage and purification, medicines, cultural aspects, sinks for waste, natural ecosystems, and animal ecology. The loss of soil is a serious environmental issue. Erosion is a natural process but is exacerbated by practices such as land clearing, cultivation, and overgrazing. At risk is the topmost fertile layer of soil where plant nutrients and soil microorganisms reside which are critical to soil health. We need to protect our soil because it is a non-renewable resource, its formation takes longer than a human lifetime, losing 1cm of soil could take 200-400 years to reform.
The following resources provide education and instruction on soil conservation concepts, techniques, and strategies to understand your soil to prevent and remediate erosion. For generations of productive land use, we need to implement sustainable soil management practices.
Erosion prevention is a much better option than remediation.