Space & Soil: The Importance Of Soil In Our Ecosystems

As the country marked its 150th anniversary, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau honored two of the nation’s newest astronauts, Joshua Kutryk of Fort Saskatchewan and Calgary’s Jennifer Sidey. The two astronauts are heading to Houston where they will begin training for a career many children dream about.

While many dream of exploring space, did you know that your own backyard is filled with things to discover? Finding out more about the hidden world of soil can be fun and rewarding. Just like space, what we see on the surface of soil is only a tiny sliver what it holds. From microorganisms to insects, from fungi to plant rhizospheres, the earth holds all the keys to what sustains life.

The Importance Of Soil

In recent years, scientists have gained a better understanding of the critical role soil plays in ecosystems. Did you know that:

  • Soil contains a third of all living organisms.
  • Soil Scientists still have a lot to learn about how soil operates. Only 1 percent of microorganisms contained in soil have been identified. Each of these microorganisms plays a specific role in maintaining ecosystem health.
  • A single teaspoon of soil could contain as many as 5,000 species of fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and termites.

Soil is the foundation upon which all sources of food are built. The dynamics of the soil food chain are complex and essential to all forms of life. The process by which plants gain nutrients is heavily reliant on soil and, of course, animals rely on plants as a source of food. As anyone involved in landscaping knows, the difference between infertile dirt and rich soil is the presence of organic matter, the lifeblood of soil.

However, soil is under threat due to environmental destruction across the world. Erosion, the widespread use of pesticides and the release of carbon dioxide resulting in climate change are some of the main culprits in the harming of this vital natural resource. Changing human behavior and raising awareness about the importance of healthy soil is important to the future of the planet.

If you want to learn more about the dynamics of the soil food web, sign up for our free newsletter below. Soil Advocates is driven by curiosity and stays up to date on the latest pedagogical techniques. We’re experienced in communicating knowledge and understanding of science to diverse audiences because we believe that science literacy is key to society. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with everything from environmental education to feasibility studies to saving money implementing the best environmental solution for your challenges.

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By |2017-08-15T13:34:53+00:00August 15th, 2017|Categories: Blog, Environment|Tags: , |

About the Author:

Dr. Leanne J Philip, BSc. (Hon.); MSc.; PhD. is the Managing Director & Chief Scientist of Soil Advocates Inc. She studied at the University of Guelph as an undergraduate (Plant Biology, Environmental Management and Urban Horticulture) and as a graduate student (Plant & Soil Interactions). She has a keen interest in soil sciences, which lead her to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for doctoral studies in soil carbon sequestration and movement within British Columbia’s clear-cut soils. Further work in soil sciences in Europe and Canada reinforced Dr. Philip’s belief that soil processes and mechanisms belowground drive aboveground aesthetics and plant interactions. While active in both research, mentorship and teaching, most recently Dr. Philip has been working in applied soil sciences in industry and community outreach. Dr. Philip is a native of southern Ontario and is a strong advocate for scientific literacy within her community and responsible environmental stewardship.

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