The soil is one of the most important non-renewable resources that are available in nature and the greatest wealth of a nation. It is an inseparable part of our life. It consists of innumerable species which form a complex ecosystem which is precious to humans. It is full of life as animals and plants anchored on them keep it fertile. The topmost layer of soil is known as the hummus, which is rich in decaying matter of plants and animals. Burrowing animals help mix up the soil, excreta of animals in the soil makes it nutrient-rich by improving soil structure.
Besides rodents, mice, rabbits, earthworms, centipedes and other inhabitants, the soil is the natural habitat for a myriad of microorganisms, some of which are very harmful while others carry out some essential biological processes.
Soil that holds large quantities of bacteria is said to be good soil. Bacteria carry out enzyme transformations pivotal in the growth of plants and food crops. Exchange of ions takes place resulting in chemical reactions in clay soil which govern the development of plants and is a good measure of fertility of the soil.
Formation of soil is as important and occurs through the weathering process. It is formed by the breaking down of rocks under the influence of air, weather and water. It takes thousands of years for soil to form. Water is important in the formation of soil as it percolates through different layers of soil highlighting the porous nature of soil particles. Moisture in soil is key for biological processes to be carried out. It accelerates chemical reactions thereby providing favourable conditions for the growth of microbes.
The soil profile is a tool utilized in nutrient management. It gives a clear insight into soil fertility. Weathering of soil results in the change of soil profile. Soil horizon makes up for well-defined layers which run horizontally. They are as follows:
- Humus – Contains dead and decaying matter
For more information on soil teeming and profile, please register at Byju’s.