Despite beneath our feet all the time, we are less concerned about soil. We get our food from the soil. We built houses using it. Our lives wholly depends on the resources obtained from it. We get metals from it. We build gigantic structures with it. Almost all the things we see around us come from the soil. One handful of soil contains so many microbes which is more than the number of people on earth. Plants, animals, worms, insects, fungi and many other organisms depend on soil to survive. It is a magical resource on the planet earth.
Soil is an essential natural resource. It is present in the uppermost layer of the earth's crust, predominantly blackish-brown, red, yellow or white in colour. Its thickness on the earth's surface ranges from a few millimetres to 3-4 meters. A typical soil consists of 50% solid and 50% space. 50% of Solid constituents includes 45% mineral such as iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sulphur and inorganic salts like sulphates, phosphates, carbonates, 5% organic matters such as humus, air and living organisms like bacteria, fungi, insects (ants and beetles), earthworms, rodents and plant roots. 50% of space, of which half is occupied with water and half by gases. The fragrance of the Soil after the first rain is helpful to refresh ourselves.
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Pedology is the study of soils in their natural environment.
Significant uses of the Soil
  • Soil supports plant growth by anchoring the roots firmly and supplying water and nutrients to the plants. So, Soil is an inseparable part of our life.
  • Soil acts as a home for many organisms like earthworm, fungi, bacteria, centipedes, millipedes, snakes, rat, beetles etc.
  • Soil is the crucial necessity of agriculture. Various soil types help different crops to germinate and grow. Without Farmers and agriculture, food, shelter, and clothing won't be available to us.
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Soil Teeming with life
Soil contains water, air, and living organisms like bacteria, fungi, insects (ants and beetles), earthworms, rodents and plant roots. Microorganisms such as Fungi and Bacteria, are too tiny to be seen by naked eyes. One of the vital soil organism is earthworm and can be seen in the Soil during the rainy season. It enhances the richness of the Soil.
Different soil samples collected from areas present around in a  locality, and their contents are summarized in the below table.
Soil source: Garden soil
Presence of Plants: Grasses and roots
Presence of Animals: Ants, earthworms, termites and beetles
Any other observations: Concrete, Plastic
Soil source: Soil from roadside
Presence of Plants: Dry roots
Presence of Animals: Ants and termites
Any other observations: Concrete, plastic bags and glass particles
Soil source: Soil from the area where construction is going on
Presence of Plants: No plants
Presence of Animals: Ants
Any other observations: Gravels, plastic bags, polythene bags, sand, bricks etc.
Soil source: Soil from agricultural land
Presence of Plants: Grassroots and plant roots
Presence of Animals: Earthworms, millipedes, centipedes, fungi and bacteria
Any other observations: Concretes, glass materials and manure (cow dung and decomposed plants. These decomposed plant is used as a manure for soil fertility enhancement).
Soil source: Soil from riverside
Presence of Plants: Dry grasses, hays and humus
Presence of Animals: Millipedes, centipedes and lichens
Any other observations: Glass particles, concrete, plastic articles, and polythene bags, rubber tyre pieces
From the above table, we see that various soils from different locality have diverse plants, animals, and waste materials.