Soils are living, experts explain


Photo credit: Scott Van Pelt

According to July’s IYS monthly leader Mary Stromberger, “soil is a living, dynamic natural resource. It helps us sustain life — but it doesn’t do its job alone. The biodiversity of life in soil is critical to a healthy world.” Stromberger is a soil scientist at Colorado State University.

Here are some facts about life in soil:

1. Larger animals like gopher turtles and burrowing owls make their homes in soil. The soil protects them from weather and predators.

2. Insects often live in soil, too. The give back by creating tunnels and helping aerate the soil.

3. Bacteria and fungi — referred to as microbes — live in the soil. These tiny creatures provide essential services like converting nitrogen from the air into a form that plants can use for food. They decompose organic matter and aid in weathering of rocks to provide plant nutrients.


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