What is Soil?

Soil is one of the three major natural resources, alongside air and water. It is one of the marvellous products of nature and without which there would be no life.

Soil is made up of three main components – minerals that come from rocks below or nearby, organic matter which is the remains of plants and animals that use the soil, and the living organisms that reside in the soil.

The proportion of each of these is important in determining the type of soil that is present. But other factors such as climate, vegetation, time, the surrounding terrain, and even human activities (eg. farming, grazing, gardening etc.), are also important in influencing how soil is formed and the types of soil that occur in a particular landscape.

Soil can form from the rocks below, or from rocks a very long distance away - perhaps being carried by wind or water. The glaciers of the last ice age acted as giant bulldozers pushing truly huge amounts of soil along as they grew and dropping the soil as they melted.