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What Soil Does

Inspecting a hand full of soilHealthy soil gives us clean air and water, bountiful crops and forests, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife, and beautiful landscapes. Soil does all this by performing five essential functions:

  • Regulating water - Soil helps control where rain, snowmelt, and irrigation water goes. Healthy soil will absorb more runoff, compared to compacted soil.
  • Sustaining plant and animal life - The diversity and productivity of living things depends on soil.
  • Filtering and buffering potential pollutants - The minerals and microbes in soil are responsible for filtering, buffering, degrading, immobilizing, and detoxifying organic and inorganic materials, including industrial and municipal by-products and atmospheric deposits.
  • Cycling nutrients - Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and many other nutrients are stored, transformed, and cycled in the soil.
  • Physical stability and support - Soil structure provides a medium for plant roots. Soils also provide support for human structures and protection for archeological treasures.

The Time is Right to Talk About Soil Health for Two Very Important Reasons

What Does Soil Health Mean to New York?

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