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Soil Science


Soil Health

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.
(NRCS-Soil Health)

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. (

Dr. Abbey Wick

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Soil Science Department
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8901 - Fax: (701) 231-7861
Campus address: Walster Hall 106
Mailing address: Dept 7680 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Nathan.Derby@NDSU.EDU

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 01, 2015 9:10:36 PM
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