Soil is essential for supporting plant growth and serves as a habitat for microbes. It is also one of the resources needed by farmers for their business. The resources of the soil (water, air, nutrients, and minerals), when well-managed, will contribute to a healthy environment. It will maintain biodiversity, reduce agrochemical usage and carbon dioxide, among others.
A LIVING SOIL
Soil may seem lifeless, but it has life. When it gets “sick”, its ability to support plant growth is hindered. Living soil is seen as the one with adequate organic matter (dead plants and animal remains). It also has a million organisms including those that can be seen with the naked eye (earthworms, arthropods, millipedes) and those that cannot be seen (fungi, virus, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes). Hence, it is a diverse and dynamic system consisting of different soil organisms. The soil has the potential to mitigate climate change by either maintaining or increasing carbon content.
The yield of a crop about its given land (soil) and other resources (labour and capital) determines the crop productivity. An increase in human population coupled with industrialization puts pressure on the existing arable land. One of the alternatives to increase the output for production per unit land area is to enrich the soil nutrients. This led to the massive application of chemical fertilizers and led the world to serious environmental costs including polluting water bodies, increasing soil pH, and destroying soil microbes. Also, an excess amount of nitrogen in water bodies is capable of killing fish. Even though yields may be high due to the application of synthetic fertilizers, the environmental cost is too high to forgo. A focus on establishing a living soil provides a safe, friendly environment for plants, microbes, and agricultural produce.
LINK BETWEEN LIVING SOIL AND CROP PRODUCTIVITY
Living soil is key to the food system, which produces a healthy crop to feed man and animals.
A living soil facilitates the decomposition of organic material and enhances air and water movement making nutrients available to crops. Thus, building the life of the soil and providing an ecosystem that nurtures and nourishes crops development. Living soil will lead to healthy soil and sustainable gardening/farming activities. The gardener or farmer will achieve productive plants leading to high yield and qualify farm produce for kitchen use. That eventually is less harmful to the soil, its microbes, and the environment as a whole.