Chemically healthy soil has a rich base of the nutrients that plants require for growth, primarily nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus as well as elements such as zinc, copper, iron, chlorine, manganese, molybdenum and others, which are needed in small to very small amounts. These nutrients should not only be present, but in balance and available to the plant – for nutrients to be available, the acidity/alkalinity must be within the desired range, and there should be no problems of salinity or sodicity.
Biologically healthy soils have a vast diversity of living things in them – micro- and macro-organisms, as well as various plant roots interacting with one another and the other components of soil. A good store of non-living soil organic carbon, particularly humus, is required to provide the energy basis for all of the processes that occur in the soil. In biologically healthy soil, crop and other residues break down easily and both physical and chemical soil health is better.
- Published: 2016
- Publisher: Institute for Sustainable Development & AgriProFocus, Ethiopia