Soils are one of our largest reservoirs of biodiversity. In fact, scientists estimate that the soil contains almost one-third of all living organisms!
Meanwhile, only about one percent of these microorganisms have even been identified, and the relationships between them are not well understood.
But, one thing we do know for certain is that the health of the world above ground is inextricably linked to the health of the world below ground.
Soil biodiversity is the foundation for overall ecosystem biodiversity and health, and healthy soils carry out many vital ecosystem services including water filtration and storage, food production, flood and erosion control, disease control, climate regulation and biodiversity conservation.
When thinking about the need to protect soils from increasing degradation, we need to consider the needs of species other than our own. Wild animals depend on wild plants for leaves, seeds, and fruit, and these diverse, wild plants, in turn, depend on healthy soils to flourish. Animals of all sizes depend on trees, bushes, shrubs and grasses to build nest and burrows as well as for camouflage.
Increasing soil degradation is the result of multiple factors including the encroachment of cities and suburbs on landscapes. Concrete and asphalt seal soil destroying soil life. And, concrete and asphalt are not hospitable to wild animals and wild plants.
The more scientists learn, the more they realize how little they know about the hidden world under our feet. Meanwhile, one thing is clear; to maintain biodiversity above ground we need healthy soil below.