Benefit: Soil quality
Good soil quality improves the operational preconditions of agriculture and forestry. Functional cycling of substances ensures the availability of nutrients and other vital compounds for the use of economically important plants. The use of fertilizers is quite common in agriculture but in forestry the natural cycle of substances is more important. In addition to the nutrient content, there are many other characteristics for good soil quality such as the carbon content, the water retention capacity, the biomass and functionality of soil microorganisms, the quantity of humus and the decomposition rate.
But not only the economically important plants benefit from good soil quality. It is a prerequisite for provisioning of many ecosystem services such as berries and mushrooms, bioenergy, carbon cycle, nutrient retention and nursery habitats, just to name a few. The function of soil microorganisms forms a basis for the function of the whole ecosystem.
Soils in good quality store a large quantity of carbon mainly as humus. It has been assessed that Finnish peatlands store 5.6 billion tonnes of carbon, forest land 1.2 billion tonnes and lake sediments 0.7 billion tonnes. Soil carbon storage has a significant role in climate change mitigation.
Soils in good quality retain also nutrients effectively. Along with good water retention capacity of the soil this has an important role in decreasing the nutrient run-offs into waterways and thus decreasing aquatic eutrophication.
- Updated (12.01.2015)