What is Soil Teeming?
“Soil is teemed with life.” The statement states that the soil contains different types of living organisms that help in sustaining life.
Soil comprises millions and billions of living organisms that form a complex ecosystem and is the most precious resource to humans. The plants and animals present in the soil help in maintaining the fertility of soil.
The decaying plants form humus, and the burrowing animals mix the soil. The animal excreta act as nutrients and add to the soil quality. One gram of fertile soil contains about one billion bacteria.
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 governs the development of plants and is a good measure of fertility of the soil.
Also Read: Types of Soil
The soil animals feed on organic matter and help in the decomposition process. Earthworms are one such example. They feed on plant and organic material and release worm castings in the soil that act as food for other organisms. They also help in aerating the soil.
Besides earthworms, other organisms called nematodes (roundworms) are also found in the water around the soil particles. A few nematodes feed on dead material, a few eat living roots, while the others feed on other living organisms.
The soil also contains nitrogen-fixing bacteria, such as Rhizobium that are found in the soil with less nitrogen. These microorganisms fix the atmospheric nitrogen and add nutrients to the soil as well as the plants.
Soil 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 the key to carry out biological processes. 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 in soil profile. The different layers of soil are:
- Humus, that contains dead and decaying matter
The topmost layer of soil retains more water and is an abode for different organisms. This layer is rich in humus.
The second layer is known as horizon B and contains comparatively less humus.
The third layer is made up of small lumps of rocks with cracks and crevices.
Bedrock is the lowermost layer which is very hard to dig with a spade.
Also Read: What is Soil
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