A natural resource

The soil is an important part of the landscape and contributes to determine the way in which natural vegetation, crops and human settlements are distributed on the territory. But the importance of the soil is mainly related to its double role as a reserve of nutritional elements and water and mechanical support (how would plants be able to stand upright if they did not have the soil to put their roots in?) for vegetation, leading to the creation of forests and protected areas. A direct observation allows us to see the fundamental importance of the soil: if we go to the mountains or to the countryside, we will see some bare rocks without plants, but next to them there will be wider areas covered by a thick soil. On this land spontaneous vegetation or crops grow. The soil is also very important for men and other living organisms as it affects water composition. In fact, the quality of underground water reserves depends on use of organic and inorganic polluting products, deriving from agricultural and industrial activities or from cities. Various chemical and physical properties of the soil affect the concentration and permanence of polluting compounds in the soil, and the probability that they get in contact with superficial aquifers by polluting them.
The soil can be extremely important for men even if it is not changed and left in its natural conditions. This is the case of protected areas (parks and oasis): the survival of the delicate ecosystems of these areas mainly depends on the fact that the soil keeps in good conditions and does not experience changes. For example, in the past men considered wet areas as unhealthy areas to be reclaimed and used for agriculture. Today wet areas are considered as very important and fragile ecosystems, whose survival can be guaranteed only by preserving the particular conditions of their soil.

Special reports

  • 13 May 2013

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

    7 January 2010

    Alps and Appennines

    The term orogeny was born from the Greek words...

    18 May 2009

    Sauropods

    40 meters long and 17 high, huge...

  • 10 November 2011

    Landslides

    When studying landslide phenomena, it is opportune to distinguish...

    28 August 2020

    The Earth seen from above: signs of fires

    This image was taken by the ASTER sensor installed on the NASA TERRA satellite platform. The image was taken on…

    15 July 2020

    Earth viewed from above

    Remote satellite sensing: what it is and what it is used for In the scientific field, the images produced by…

  • 30 April 2019

    Urban woods

    When walking along a tree-lined avenue in a crowded and traffic-congested city, wrapped up in our daily commitments, we do…

    12 April 2019

    Easter with extinct friends

    Easter Island is shaped like a triangle with three extinct volcanoes placed at the vertices, and has a total area…

    26 September 2018

    Citizen science, research conducted by ordinary citizens

    When we think of scientists, we often imagine people wearing white coats, shut up in a laboratory working with test…

  • 13 May 2013

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

    7 January 2010

    Alps and Appennines

    The term orogeny was born from the Greek words...

  • 18 May 2009

    Sauropods

    40 meters long and 17 high, huge...

    10 November 2011

    Landslides

    When studying landslide phenomena, it is opportune to distinguish...

  • 28 August 2020

    The Earth seen from above: signs of fires

    This image was taken by the ASTER sensor installed on the NASA TERRA satellite platform. The image was taken on…

    15 July 2020

    Earth viewed from above

    Remote satellite sensing: what it is and what it is used for In the scientific field, the images produced by…

From the Multimedia section

Facts