𝗦𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲:
Soils are much more than an inert mass of sand, silt, and clay; they are an interconnected community of organisms, ruled by several physical and chemical factors and processes, creating an ecosystem and playing a very important role in the overall functions of terrestrial ecosystems.
Soil is full of living organisms, from large plant roots and easily visible animals to very small mites and insects to microorganisms. Soils behave as an anchor for plant roots growth and as a water retention tank for needed moisture, which provides a welcoming place for a plant to grow. As rain falls, the soil absorbs and stores moisture creating a reservoir of water available for plants and organisms to live in, while regulating and purifying water supplies, preventing floods and droughts.
In addition, soils can also help to recycle several materials. The decomposition of dead plants, animals, and organisms by soil flora and fauna (e.g. bacteria, fungi, and insects) transforms their remains into simpler mineral forms, which can be used by other living plants, animals, and microorganisms in their creation of new living tissue and soil humus. Microorganisms are the primary decomposers of soil and do much of the work of transforming and recycling old materials into the compounds necessary for the growth of new organisms.
Ultimately, soils are the base material for roads, houses, buildings, and other structures, being essential to human society. The soil is the link between the rock core of the earth and the living things on its surface.
In this third webinar integrated into the 3rd Cycle “Healthy, living and resilient soils”, we talked about the concept of soil function, highlighted the latest technological advances and the challenges still to be overcome in this research area.