Soil quality

Good quality of soils create basis for plant growth and it affects to usability of land. The soil condition affects to functioning of nutrient cycles.

In agriculture, it is essential to monitor and use soils sustainably. The use of fertilizers affect to diversity of soil plants and nutrient leaks lead to eutrophication of inland waters. In fields, the situation is monitored with nitrogen and phosphorus balances. It is the remainder of the used nutrients as fertilizers in fields and how much of it is retained in vegetation (added nutrients – removed nutrients = nutrient balance). Suitable nutrient levels (kg/ha) are defined to different crop plants because of their individual capacity to retain different nurtients. Since 1990 the use of fertilizers has declined. At the same time the nutrient balances have decreased while the yields and nutrient uptake from the soil have increased.


The threats to soil quality and nutrient cycles are mainly anthropogenic. Excess use of fertilizers in agriculture affects negatively to soil conditions in a long run and when leaching to water system, the inland waters eutrophication may occur. Burning of fossil fuels causes acidification and nitrogen and sulfur deposition that affect to soils through changes in vegetation species proportions.


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