Why is important for the floor

From living space to climate protectors

The soil and its functions

Habitat, water reservoir and water filter, the basis for our diet and climate protectors - our soil is much more than just the subsoil we walk on. Its tasks are diverse and without it our ecosystem would not function.


Photo: Jutta Rotter / Pixelio.de

Life is raging below: the ground as living space

When we look at life on earth, we mostly think of the sea, the air and the land. We often forget the numerous living beings under our feet. They are extremely important for our life and our nature. There are around eighty earthworms, fifty woodlice, a million roundworms and ciliates, a billion fungi and a trillion bacteria on one square meter of ground with a depth of thirty centimeters! So we can say: life is raging on our feet!

This structure is built up according to a certain order, which is based on the oxygen content of the soil. A good soil with a lot of coarse pores, a lot of leaf litter and a balanced soil climate can look forward to a rich soil life. The decomposition of organic matter is at the top of the to-do list for soil organisms. Organic materials such as leaves, dead animals and plant residues are broken down by living beings and the nutrients stored in them are made available again. This is how new plants can grow. So the most important and fundamental function of the soil is that of living space.


Water in balance: the soil as a water reservoir and filter

Our soil is able to store large amounts of water. Depending on the condition, more or less or for a longer or shorter period of time. A sandy bottom doesn't hold water as long as a clay bottom. Grown soil with a high proportion of organic material, i.e. plant residues, fungi, bacteria and other soil organisms, holds the water best and then releases it gradually. Such soils also form important buffer zones outside the garden, which slowly release the water and thus counteract flooding.

Humus, mineral soil and rock, i.e. the upper layers of the soil, protect the groundwater from all kinds of substances, filter it and keep it clean. Filtering the water is another important function of the soil.


Air conditioning and carbon storage: the soil as a climate protector

In addition to these impressive properties, the soil has another important function: It influences the climate - on a large scale, but also on a small scale. We all know the phenomenon when it is unbearably hot in the city in the summer but pleasant in the country. The reason for this: Due to the evaporation of the water from the plants and the unsealed soil, the air cools down noticeably faster than it does on paved roads. The evaporated water also increases the humidity. Soil and climate are in a reciprocal relationship that is easily unbalanced.

Soils are also important carbon stores. They store five times as much carbon as all life above the earth and twice as much as our atmosphere. Around half of the carbon reaches the soil through the plants and is stored there. However, this can only happen if the plants grow in the soil and can rot there too. In the course of the soil's degradation processes, the carbon is released again in the form of carbon dioxide. This happens, for example, when peat bogs are drained. When peat is extracted, which is used, among other things, for garden soil, enormous amounts of the harmful gas are released into the environment. Those who garden peat-free therefore protect the climate.


The soil as a supplier that we have to protect

In addition to all these abilities, soils secure our nutrition! About half of the area of ​​Germany is used for agriculture - and that requires fertile soil. The use of too much fertilizer, too frequent and intensive tillage and the use of pesticides endanger fertility. Soil cultivation should be done according to the principles of good professional practice. Organic fruit and vegetables can be a solution for the consumer.

We ourselves have an influence on the soil in our gardens. Here we have control over how the soil is used and worked. Because in order to preserve the valuable properties of the soil, we have to protect our soil.


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