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Q: the nature of soil ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: the nature of soil
Category: Science
Asked by: tab5731-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2006 15:44 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2006 15:44 PDT
Question ID: 759588
Is "soil," "by itself" considered biotic or abiotic?
Subject: Re: the nature of soil
Answered By: tisme-ga on 25 Aug 2006 15:52 PDT
Hello tab5731-ga,

"Soil contains rocks, minerals, dead organisms, and air. Soil is
biotic and abiotic because it contains dead and living organisms and
other non-living factors."

If you absolutely had to choose between the two, soil would be abiotic
(non-living) because it is made up of minerals and disintegrated rock.
While some definitions include the organic material mixed in as part
of the soil, many do not: "The top layer of the Earth's surface,
containing unconsolidated rock and mineral particles mixed with
organic material."

So the answer to your question is that soil is considered abiotic.

All the best,


Search Strategy:
"soil is biotic"
Subject: Re: the nature of soil
From: erichj-ga on 01 Sep 2006 14:54 PDT
The most productive and fertile soils are mostly biotic:

This entire thread on 'Terra Preta' soils I feel has great
possibilities to revolutionize sustainable agriculture into a major
CO2 sequestration strategy.
I thought, I first read about these soils in " Botany of Desire " or
"Guns,Germs,&Steel" but I could not find reference to them. I finely
found the reference  in "1491", but I did not realize their potential
The Georgia Inst. of Technology page: 
There is an ecology going on in these man made charcoal soils that is
not completely understood, and if replicated and applied at scale
would have multiple benefits for farmers and environmentalist.
 Terra Preta is on the Agenda at this years world Soil Science Conference !
If pre Columbian Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep
over 20% of the Amazon basin it seems that our energy and agricultural
industries could also product them at scale.

Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes
the whole equation of EROEI for food and Bio fuels. I see this super
community of wee beasties  populated into their proper Soil horizon
Carbon Condos as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no
longer have cheap hydrocarbons for fertilizer.

Subject: Re: the nature of soil
From: mgnairtvm-ga on 04 Sep 2006 03:27 PDT
Soil is the complex body on the surface of a lithosphere subject to
soil formation processes, comprised by mineral and organic matter, as
well as living organisms.

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