Function: Nutrient retention

Vegetation, microbes, fungi and invertebrates as well as the soil structure affect the soil’s capacity to retain nutrients. Loam soils retain more nutrients than sand and gravel soils. This is due to higher water absorption capacity.

Microorganisms retain loose nutrients rapidly and transform them into immobile forms which are compatible with vegetation. Vegetation takes up and preserves nutrients in large volumes in living plants and eventually after decomposition also as soil organic matter. Vegetated soils are more capable of retaining nutrients than barren soils not only because of vegetation’s high ability to exploit them but also because vegetated soils contain considerably wider pool of microorganisms.

Mychorrhizal fungi on plant roots take up nutrients as well and multiply the nutrient intake of a plant because of extending surface area and range. Also invertebrates are able to transform nutrients into immobile forms through their metabolism.




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