“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” – Wendell Berry
Healthy soil is diverse. In it are bacteria, fungi, arthropods, and much more. It is a world of activity the builds and decomposes, feeds and supports life, above and below ground. It is an integral part of the web of life, often overlooked but vitally important.
Healthy soils absorb water, reduce runoff, and replenish natural bodies of water, such as aquifers, lakes, and rivers. They mitigate the effects of natural disasters by providing protection against both drought and flooding. The life in healthy soils help remove many pathogens harmful to humans.
In the important context of agriculture and agroforestry, healthy soils are critical to good food and healthy people.
Healthy plants store carbon in their roots and shoots, and by interacting with other living things (microbes, fungi, etc.), that flourish in healthy soils. Grasslands and salt marshes, for instance, store enormous amounts of carbon, holding it in the ground rather than releasing it to the atmosphere. Humans can accelerate and maintain this process by replacing degradation with restoration. More grasslands, salt marshes, forests, and farms with healthy soils are examples of the desired outcome. What's more, cities have vast amounts of soils. We can and should devote major efforts to restoration of urban landscapes and healthy soils in the worlds growing cities.