Living Soils and Growing Healthy Root Systems

The soil is a complex community of living organisms. Most living organisms (nematodes, arthropods, bacteria, fungi, protozoa) in the soil are too small to be seen directly. There are, however, bigger organisms like earthworms. The interaction of these creatures is essential in providing food for plants and animals. A healthy soil ecosystem will have a more diverse and higher number of species of organisms compared with one that is not healthy. These organisms carry out processes such as nutrient recycling and retention, decompose plant residues, formation of humus, suppress diseases, and improve the soil structure. Maintaining a balanced and healthy soil system is important to its functioning, which, in turn, is important to a healthy and productive life of plants, animals and humans.

The year 2015 has been declared by the 68th UN General Assembly as the International Year f Soils (IYS). FAO has been nominated to implement the IYS 2015 that aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem function. Visit the following link for more information about YIS 2015: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/en/

More information about Living Soils is available on:

http://www.communityipm.org/docs/Living Soils/living soils.html

http://www.communityipm.org/docs/Tea_Eco-Guide/03_soil.pdf

http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-contentuploads/digging_in_withbookmarks.pdf

http://www.soilhealth.see.uwa.edu.au/index

http://attra.ncat.org/soils.html

http://soils.usda.gov/SQI/concepts/soil_biology/biology.html

More information about Living Soils is available on:

Restoring the Soil A guide to support agricultural workers and smallholder farmers maintain and/or improve soil fertility and effective weed control through the use of green manure/cover crops.

meant to support agricultural workers and smallholder farmers around the world in maintaining and/ or improving soil fertility and effective weed control through the use of green manure/ cover crops (gm/ccs).