Soil is an essential contributortoplant’s health. Also, it is home to millions of useful micro and macro-organisms which are beneficial for plants. Not only this, the soil is also a reservoir of minerals, liquids, and gases essential to maintain a plant’s wellbeing. Soil has a vital influence on the atmosphere as well. It acts as a natural purification system for the world’s water supply. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain soil biodiversity.
Soil is a natural home to a plethora of living creatures or microorganisms. Microfauna, and flora as well as macroflora depend on soil for sustenance.
In other words, plants, animals, and soil share a symbiotic relationship.
Why Soil Biodiversity is Important?
Soil biodiversity has a critical role to play in the environment. It is equally crucial to conserve soil biodiversity to keep a healthy balance between the three, viz., plants, animals, and soil.
Benefits of Soil Biodiversity
- Improved and enhanced soil porosity
- Better habitat that promotes healthy root growth
- Increases and optimum water storage and absorption
- Mitigation of destructive organisms that results in higher and better yield
Soil Microbes help in Antibiotics formation
Microbes found in the soil are responsible for developing most antibiotics, hence have vital significance in the field of medicine and biology. Bacillus species is the most predominant soil bacteria as it is highly resistant to endospore formation and produces vital antibiotics such as bacitracin, polymyxin, etc. In this way soil accommodates the formation of various antibiotics and has a crucial role to play in society.
Threat to Soil Biodiversity
Climate change and biodiversity loss due to excessive human activities is a significantthreat to soil biodiversity. Along with this, reduction of forests for human settlement and agricultural activities also has a huge negative impact on soil biodiversity.
Declining soil’s organic matter, soil contamination, soil compaction, and soil salinization are all examples of human interventions causing a threat to soil biodiversity.
For instance, the decline in the organic matter of soil is a general effect of tillage agriculture. Similarly, agriculture waste, industrial waste, transport, and management lead to soil contamination in both, rural and urban soils. Soil salinization occurs due to over-abstraction of groundwater, urbanization, seawater intrusion, municipal wastewater, excessive fertilizer use, and even leads to soil erosion.
How to Protect Soil Biodiversity?
Farmers can contribute to increasing soil biodiversity by limiting agricultural production to agricultural land. Following strategies can help conserve soil biodiversity if implemented.
- Sustainable grazing practices can aid in conserving soil’s natural texture.
- Limited use of tilling practice can avoid soil compaction and soil erosion.
- Perennial plants protect soil’s natural contents.
- Rehabilitating mismanaged soil allows replenishing soil’s original texture.
- Reduction of chemical inputs is another way soil biodiversity can be maintained.
- Planting cover crops between major crop cultivation.