“All the world is a stage… and soil is the star.”
In any ecosystem, soils have 5 key roles to play.
First, soil supports the growth of plants. Mainly by providing support to the roots and nutrients to the entire plant.
Second, soil properties are the main factors in controlling the flow of water in the hydrologic system. Hard packed soil results in runoff during rainfall, soft organic soil encourages water to sink in underground.
Third, the soil functions as nature’s recycling system. The organisms and water in soil speed up decomposition, and releasing nutrients for use by other living things.
Fourth, soils provide habitats for and uncountable number of living things. These range from small mammals down to microscopic single cells.
Finally, in human built systems, soil plays an important role as an engineering medium. We build on it, and we build with it.
I encourage you to go on a walk, and do a mental scavenger hunt. See how many examples of each role you see while walking in your neighborhood. You will quickly realize how important soil is to life as we know it.