The term soil health is used to assess the ability of a soil to:
- Sustain plant and animal productivity and diversity
- Maintain or enhance water and air quality
- Support human health and habitation
Soil health, also referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.
The underlying principle in the use of the term “soil health” is that soil is not just a growing medium, rather it is a living, dynamic and ever-so-subtly changing environment. We can use the human health analogy and categorize a healthy soil as one:
In a state of composite well-being in terms of biological, chemical and physical properties;Not diseased or infirmed (i.e. not degraded, nor degrading), nor causing negative off-site impacts;With each of its qualities cooperatively functioning such that the soil reaches its full potential and resists degradation;Providing a full range of functions (especially nutrient, carbon and water cycling) and in such a way that it maintains this capacity into the future. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_health)