10 soil facts
Have you ever stopped to consider just how amazing soil is?
With a name like the Soil Association, it'll come as no surprise that we think soil is a pretty big deal! Here are our 10 favourite facts about this incredible resource.
- Soil is ancient. Meteorites that date from the birth of the solar system include clay minerals that made up our earliest soils
- Healthy soils have six different layers that begin with organic matter (like plant and animal residues) and topsoil and end with bedrock
- A quarter of all known species on Earth call soil their home
- More than seven billion organisms can be found in just one tablespoon of soil - that's around the same as the number of people on the planet!
- Only about 1% of the microorganisms found in soil have been identified
- 95% of the food we eat comes from the soil – we’d be pretty hungry without it
- UK soil holds nearly 10 billion tonnes of carbon, which is equivalent to the total global emissions created by humans in a year!
- Healthy soil helps to prevent floods and mitigate the effects of drought. This special stuff can store one and a half Olympic swimming pools full of water per hectare.
- Every minute we lose the equivalent of 30 football pitches of fertile soil. When we don’t look after it, soil can lose its ability to support plant growth, become contaminated or erode away, and it can take up to 1,000 thousand years for a single centimetre of topsoil to form. Here are 5 things all of us can do to help keep our soil healthy
- Organic farms have 20% more organic matter in their soil on average. Organic matter is very important for building natural fertility and nutrients, and helping the soil to store water
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