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Soil 101

Important Facts about Soil

  • Wetlands deliver a wide range of ecosystem services that contribute to human well-being, such as fish and fiber, water supply, water purification, climate regulation, flood regulation, coastal protection, recreational opportunities, and, increasingly, tourism. Despite these important benefits, the degradation and loss of wetlands is more rapid than that of other ecosystems.
  •  Through natural processes, such as soil adsorption, chemical filtration and nutrient cycling, the Catskill Watershed provides New York City with clean water at a cost of $1-1.5 billion, much less than the $6-8 billion one-time cost of constructing a water filtration plant plus the $300 million estimated annual operations and maintenance cost.
  •  Archaeologists have determined that the demise of many sophisticated civilizations, such as the Mayans of Central America and the Harappan of India, resulted directly from the mismanagement of their soils.
  •  Covering just 6% of Earth’s land surface, wetlands (including marshes, peat bogs, swamps, river deltas, mangroves, tundra, lagoons and river floodplains) currently store up to 20% (850 billion tons) of terrestrial carbon, a CO2 equivalent comparable to the carbon content of today’s atmosphere.
  •  Did you know that there are more living individual organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on the earth?
  • Did you know that almost all of the antibiotics we take to help us fight infections were obtained from soil microorganisms?
  • Did you know that agriculture is the only essential industry on earth?
  • Did you know that the best china dishes are made from soil?
  • Did you know that about 70% of the weight of a text book or glossy paged magazine is soil?
  • Did you know that putting clay on your face in the form of a “mud mask” is done to cleanse the pores in the skin?


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