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Soil: a precious resource

Daniel Bouwmeester    November 27, 2023    3 min read   

by Luise Manning

President of Springfield Lakes Nature Care

World Soil Day is held annually on December 5 to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil.

It also advocates for the sustainable management of soil resources.

It is a unique global platform that celebrates soils and empowers and engages citizens to improve soil health.

This year’s theme is “Soil and Water – a source of life”. It aims to raise awareness about this important relationship that helps achieve sustainable and resilient agrifood systems.

Our planet’s survival depends on this precious link. Over 95% of our food originates because of the fundamental links between soil and water.

Demonstrating the importance of soil and vegetation, Springfield Lakes Nature Care (SLNC) president Luise Manning (back row, third from left) poses with volunteers and distinguished guests after the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Planting Trees for the Queen’s Jubilee project, at the recent Community Planting Event along Opossum Creek in Brookwater, on November 18. Image: SLNC.

Soil-water contains dissolved organic and inorganic substances and transports nutrients directly to the plant’s roots. This is a vital nutrient for plants, and it binds our ecosystems together. This symbiotic relationship is the foundation of our agricultural systems.

However, in the face of climate change and human activity, our soils are being degraded, putting excessive pressure on our water resources. Erosion disrupts the natural balance, reducing water infiltration and availability for all forms of life.

Sustainable soil management practices improve soil health, reduce erosion and pollution, and enhance water infiltration and storage. Such practices include minimum tillage, crop rotation, organic matter addition, and cover cropping.

These actions also preserve soil biodiversity, improve fertility, and contribute to carbon sequestration, playing a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

History of Soil Day

An international day recognising the value of soil was first recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002.

A decade later, under the leadership of Thailand, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly responded to requests by the Global Soil Partnership to implement World Soil Day. The date of December 5 corresponded with the official birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event.

The first official World Soil Day thus took place on December 5, 2014, and has occurred on this day ever since.

Did you know…?

  • 95% of our food comes from soils.
  • One cubic metre of healthy soil can retain over 250 litres of water.
  • Healthy soil plays a crucial role as a natural filter, purifying and storing water as it infiltrates into the ground.
  • Soil can also store carbon and soil carbon sequestration is a process in which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil carbon pool.
  • A recent study has found that soil is home to 59% of all life on Earth, from an insect feeding on the soil surface to a tiny microbe nestled in a soil pore. This discovery crowns soil as the most biodiverse habitat on the planet.· So next time you get your hands dirty, planting or weeding your garden or vegetable patch, spare a thought for the importance of soil and how many microorganisms and bacteria live in just a gram of soil.

Thank you,

Luise Manning

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Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.