Skip to main content

Competency Area 1: Basic Soil Properties

PO 1. Know the five soil functions.

  1. Soil is a Medium for plant growth or bio-materials production whereby this medium combines with the other soil functions to anchor roots, and allow for the transport of water and nutrients to the root/soil interface.
  2. Soil is a Habitat for soil organisms, making up more than half of all "life" on the planet. The micro-organisms are mainly responsible for most of the bio-chemical transformations in the soil medium; whereas, the macro-organisms primarily affect physical soil transformations.
  3. Soil acts as a Biochemical or Nutrient Reactor which absorbs, releases (i.e., desorbs), and transforms inorganic and biochemical compounds such as essential plant nutrients, pesticides, minerals, heavy metals, and numerous other compounds.
  4. Soil acts as a Hydrologic Buffer which stores (i.e., water holding capacity) and regulates the flow (i.e., drainage) of water in the landscape, allowing for the transport of various inorganic and biochemical compounds within and through the soil medium.
  5. Soil is a Foundation for the physical support of structures including everything from plants to skyscrapers.