For me soil is right up the top there, a micron or two behind air and water. But whilst without these two gifts we cannot survive today, soil is the basis of long term survival. In fact it is demonstrably the true foundation of civilisation. That is fertile, accessible, living soil.
We neglect it at our peril. Within historical memory (i.e. written records) Syria was a forest kingdom, Iraq the birthplace of agriculture and Libya the breadbasket of the Roman Empire.
I expect anyone reading this will be familiar with the essential components of soil:
- Mineral fraction (sand, silt, clay)
- Air and water
- Adequate soil structure to admit and retain these
But the most important constituent, the one that resists erosion and minimises workload the most, the one which makes nutrition most available to plants and animals alike, is the life in the soil itself.
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