Soil Life - Overview

Overview

In balanced soil, plants grow in an active and steady environment. The mineral content of the soil and its heartiful structure are important for their well-being, but it is the life in the earth that powers its cycles and provides its fertility. Without the activities of soil organisms, organic materials would accumulate and litter the soil surface, and there would be no food for plants. The soil biota includes:

  • Megafauna: size range - 20 mm upward, e.g. moles, rabbits, and rodents.
  • Macrofauna: size range - 2 to 20 mm, e.g. woodlice, earthworms, beetles, centipedes, slugs, snails, ants, and harvestmen.
  • Mesofauna: size range - 100 micrometres to 2 mm, e.g. tardigrades, mites and springtails.
  • Microfauna and Microflora: size range - 1 to 100 micrometres, e.g. yeasts, bacteria (commonly actinobacteria), fungi, protozoa, roundworms, and rotifers.

Of these, bacteria and fungi play key roles in maintaining a healthy soil. They act as decomposers that break down organic materials to produce detritus and other breakdown products. Soil detritivores, like earthworms, ingest detritus and decompose it. Saprotrophs, well represented by fungi and bacteria, extract soluble nutrients from delitro. The ants (macrofaunas) help by breaking down in the same way but they also provide the motion part as they move in their armies. Also the rodents, wood-eaters help the soil to be more absorbent.

Read more about this topic:  Soil Life

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