Airdate: Feb 03, 2004
Scientist: Dr. J. Mark Dangerfield
Soil Litter - Soil As Living Skin
Soil is bio-dynamic: it has the capacity to filter pollutants and transform elements into organic matter.
Soil Litter: Soil as Living Skin
Ambiance: garden sounds
In ancient times mother earth was worshipped as a deity and fertile soil was considered sacred. Well, today scientists who study soil also hold it in high regard as a kind of "living skin" essential to life on earth. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Dr. Mark Dangerfield is a soil scientist at MacQaurie University in New South Wales, Australia.
"To say that soil is, is important in the way that the world works I think is the biggest understatement that you could make. It's vital to how the world works, because it's not only the source of nutrients for all the plants that we grow, all that we use, but it holds those plants together, and it actually provides a buffer against all sorts of pollution events and so forth."
In addition to protecting us from pollution, filtering impurities from our water, and working as a kind of 24 hour nutrient recycling factory, according to Mark Dangerfield says soil has another function - it acts like a skin for our planet.
"Soil is a bit of a skin in a way, but it- it's not a skin that's holding things in, it's a skin that's giving things out. Cause what soil does - is all this activity of organisms breaking down organic matter- they're also breaking down the rock that's underneath the soil and releasing nutrients from that rock- so in a way they're giving out from the inorganic part of the world into the organic part of the world. And that's a really important role of all the organisms that live there because they're the ones that make that happen."
We'll hear more about soil future programs. Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation . I'm Jim Metzner.