Why is phosphorus needed on farms?

Celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Phosphorus’ Discovery! Did you ever wonder why your home and garden fertilizer has specific ratios of nutrients? Well, the story goes back even further – to the discovery of those elements! Phosphorus is one of the main “ingredients” for healthy plant growth. This year, 2019, is the 350th anniversary of … Continue reading Why is phosphorus needed on farms?

Soils and your Thanksgiving meal

As you sit around your Thanksgiving table this year, we thought we’d give you some ideas about current research topics that help bring you your dinner. In addition to the growers who tended your food, perhaps you’ll also be thankful for the research scientists working behind the scenes to help us have a sustainable food … Continue reading Soils and your Thanksgiving meal

How do forests recover from fires?

Forest fires can be devastating events. We hear in the news about many forest fires, the homes destroyed, and the lives lost1. Fires also have effects on the forest itself, and soil plays an important role in bringing the forest back to life. Jack pine tree seeds need the heat of a fire in order … Continue reading How do forests recover from fires?

I’ve heard that soil microbes are living in Antarctica. How can that be?

The polar regions of the globe are often very cold for the most of the year. In the dead of winter, these environments can experience air temperatures well below -50° F! The coldest temperature on record (-128° F) was measured in Antarctica in 1983. Soil with a permafrost layer beginning at 60 cm near the … Continue reading I’ve heard that soil microbes are living in Antarctica. How can that be?

How can soils help with climate change?

Soil can help with climate change by storing carbon through a process called “carbon sequestration.” However, the amount of carbon soil can store depends on choices made by farmers and other landowners. The choices farmers make—the crops they grow, whether or not they plow (till or no-till), and the amount of fertilizer they use—can influence … Continue reading How can soils help with climate change?

How does soil differ across Earth’s biomes? Part 2

To see Part 1 of this answer, visit http://wp.me/p3Rg6r-8p Ecologists group large geographic regions with similar environments and distinctive plant and animal communities into biomes. The environmental factors influencing biomes include latitude, the general climate and topography of the region, and soil. Soil is the foundation of every terrestrial ecosystem. Each biome has soils with … Continue reading How does soil differ across Earth’s biomes? Part 2

How does soil differ across Earth’s biomes? Part 1

Ecologists group large geographic regions with similar environments and distinctive plant and animal communities into biomes. The environmental factors influencing biomes include latitude, the general climate and topography of the region, and soil. Soil is the foundation of every terrestrial ecosystem. Each biome has soils with characteristics unique to it. Forests Forests occupy nearly a … Continue reading How does soil differ across Earth’s biomes? Part 1

What types of animals live in the soil? Why is soil condition important to them?

Question: What types of animals live in the soil? Why is soil condition important to them? Answer: There are many different types of animals that live in the soil. Soil is a living, dynamic resource. It helps grow food, fiber, and fuel. However, none of these processes can truly be carried out without the help … Continue reading What types of animals live in the soil? Why is soil condition important to them?

Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks?

Question: Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks? Answer: People love to be outdoors, and soil is an important contributor to a good outing, whether you are hiking, mountain biking, painting, or just enjoying nature. But humans can have significant impacts on the soil. When … Continue reading Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks?