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What is soil made up of

Importance of soil kidsexplain what soil isSoil functionssoil profile and soil horizonsKinds of soilsconservation of soilssoil ecosystemssoil formation factors


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types of soils



Importance (Functions) of soils


Soils are essential for life, in the sense that they provide the medium for plant growth, habitat for many insects and other organisms, act as a filtration system for surface water, carbon store and maintenance of atmospheric gases. Let us take a closer look at each of these:

Medium for plant growth:
soil functionsSoils support roots and keep them upright for growth.
soil functionsSoils provide plants with essential minerals and nutrients.
soil functionsSoils provide air for gaseous exchange between roots and atmosphere.
soil functionsSoils protect plants from erosion and other destructive physical, biological and chemical activity.
soil functionsSoils hold water (moisture) and maintain adequate aeration.


Habitat for many insects and other organisms:
soils are habitat for animals
soil functionsInsects and microbes (very tiny single cell organisms) live in the soils and depend on soils for food and air.
soil functionsSoils are homes to a diverse range of organisms such as worms and termites. They provide the needed moisture and air for breakdown of organic matter. (learn more about soil ecosystem)
soil functionsThey provide a home for many organisms such as insects to lay and hatch eggs and rodents to give birth to new off springs.

Filtration system for surface water:
After rainfall and snowmelts, water flows on the earth’s surface to water bodies, but much of it soaks and gets infiltrated into the ground. As it continues its way downwards through the many layers in the ground, it is filtered from dust, chemicals and other contaminants. This is why aquifers (underground water) are one of the purest sources of water. Filtered water also provides plants with clean, unpolluted water needed for growth.

Carbon store and maintenance of atmospheric gases:
Soils help regulate atmospheric Carbon dioxide (co2) by acting as a carbon store. During humification (a process where soil organisms form complex and stable organic matter) some organic matter breakdown do not occur completely, especially in soils like peat, owing to its high acid and water content.
On a global scale, soils contain about twice as much carbon as the atmosphere and about three times as much as vegetation
source1.
This results in the accumulation of organic matter in the soil which are high in carbon content. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and many other nutrients are stored, transformed, and cycled in the soil.

uses of soilsoil profiles

1, Why soil is important, SEPA http:www.sepa.org.uk/land/soil/why_soil_is_important.aspx

Soil ecosystems kids



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