I Love Soil
Where would we be without soil?
According to one soil scientist, we’d be “hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless and breatheless”. Soil is responsible for what we eat and drink. Our food comes from the soil – even fish and other aquatic life depend on nutrients from the soil. Soil filters and stores the water we drink. It helps to keep us warm and dry. Much of our clothing and many of our buildings are made of materials grown or taken from the soil. Even the air we breathe has a soil connection – plants that make oxygen grow in soil.
Soil keeps more than just humans alive. It is a habitat for 25% of the Earth’s biodiversity. Soil is home to creatures we can see like insects and earthworms. It is also home to bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms – billions of microorganisms. There are more living things in one teaspoon of soil than there are people living on the earth!
Soil and ecosystem services
The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ holds true with soil. Many important processes happen under out feet every day. These ecosystem services are crucial to our planet. Soil and soil organisms break down wastes and recycle nutrients. Soil helps store water and improves our resilience to floods and droughts. Soil even helps with climate change – there is more carbon stored in the soil than in all of the plants, animals and air above the ground.
Soil is a non-renewable resource
Considering so much of the Earth is covered with soil, it is easy to think of it as a never ending resource. However, we need to protect and look after soil. It takes a very long time to make soil – hundreds to thousands of years to form just one centimetre. Soil is lost to erosion, pollution, and being sealed over by roads, houses or parking lots.
Here are some tidbits of information about some of the articles we have to share with you. Click on the headline to go to the article.
A brief introduction to what’s in soil and how this influences the way soil looks, feels and behaves. Find out how soil properties influence sport, where we put our buildings and grow our food.
Have you ever wondered if the soil in your garden is the same as the soil across the street, at your school or where you work? Soils differ due to how and where they were formed.
About 3/4 of New Zealand’s export earnings come from primary industries – but soil does more than earn money for us. Read about the services soil provides and why we need to protect this valuable resource.
One quarter of life on earth uses soil as a habitat. Read about soil life in native and urban habitats and why life above the ground depends on life below the ground.
When Maori first arrived, they found a land quite different to their native Polynesia. Crops such as kumera required a different growing regime. Maori modified soils with sand and gravel to optimise kumara production.
Soil scientists share a love of science and don’t mind getting a bit dirty while working outdoors. Career paths include work as consultants, advisors, educators, technicians and researchers