Soils/Land Use - High School

Soils are ecosystems, and the life within them contributes to their composition and structure. They have a direct impact on wildlife, providing both food and shelter. Soils provide the medium for plant growth and therefore, are major determinants of terrestrial ecosystems. The composition and distribution of plant communities and all the services they provide for man and wildlife relate to the soil. To understand the environment, one needs to understand soils.

Soils play important roles in the cycling of essential nutrients, gases, and water. They are natural buffers and filters for pollutants, purifying and storing water. Organisms within the soil can break down harmful chemicals, helping keep them from impacting ecosystems. Soils are the major support system for man and all terrestrial life. They support the growth of our agricultural products, which feed the human population and native vegetation that supports wildlife. They determine the agricultural and forest productivity, which provides our food source, materials for housing, economic resources, and raw materials for numerous products. They are the foundation on which we build our homes, roads, and recreational facilities, and from which the homes for wildlife grow.

Soils are a dynamic, vital natural resource on which most all terrestrial life depends. They are the source for producing some of our most important economic products and thus important to industry. Soils support the ecosystems that we enjoy for the vegetation, wildlife, recreation, and aesthetic opportunities they provide.

It is no wonder that soil is often referred to as “the wealth beneath our feet”. It is also easy to understand President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s statement: “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.”

Please refer to the resources listed below for study materials:

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