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Soil (terra, dirt, and, as applicable, land and ground) is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. The Earth's body of soil is the pedosphere, which has four important functions: it is a medium for plant growth; it is a means of water storage, supply and purification; it is a modifier of Earth's atmosphere; it is a habitat for organisms; all of which, in turn, modify the soil.


  • The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all.
  • Man has only a thin layer of soil between himself and starvation.
    • Bard of Cincinnati; reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • There is no such thing as a dead soil The decomposition of organic matter in soil is a physiological process associated with the life activities of innumerable microscopic soil inhabitants.
  • The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to all State Governors on a Uniform Soil Conservation Law (26 February 1937)
  • We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed, for our safety, to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft.
    • Adlai Stevenson, Speech to the UN Economic and Social Council, Geneva, Switzerland (9 July 1965).
  • We are able to breathe, drink, and eat in comfort because millions of organisms and hundreds of processes are operating to maintain a liveable environment, but we tend to take nature's services for granted because we don't pay money for most of them.
  • The fate of the soil system depends on society's willingness to intervene in the market place, and to forego some of the short-term benefits that accrue from 'mining' the soil so that soil quality and fertility can be maintained over the longer term.
    • Eugene Odum (1993) Ecology and our endangered life-support systems. p. 143
  • Es giebt ja in der ganzen Natur keinen wichtigeren, keinen der Betrachtung würdigeren Gegenstand und wenn ein berühmter Philosoph und Staatsmann der Vorzeit (Cic. de off. I. 42.) den Ackerbau für das würdigste Geschäft eines freien Bürgers erklärt, so muß es auch ein ebenso würdiges Geschäft für ihn sein, sich mit dem Boden bekannt zu machen, ohne welchen kein Ackerbau denkbar.
    • There is no more important object in nature, no object more worthy of contemplation, and if a famous philosopher and statesman of the past declares agriculture to be the worthy business of a free citizen (Cic. de off. I. 42.) it would also be an equally worthy business for him to get acquainted with the soil, without which agriculture is not conceivable.
      • Friedrich Albert Fallou (1862) Pedology or General and Special Soil Science Prospectus, Dresden 1862. [1]. Translation by Google Translate
        • Omnium autem rerum, ex quibus aliquid adquiritur, nihil est agri cultura melius, nihil uberius, nihil dulcius, nihil homine libero dignius.
          • 'For of all gainful professions, nothing is better, nothing more pleasing, nothing more delightful, nothing better becomes a well-bred man than agriculture'
            • Cicero De officiis (On Dutiable Action). Book I, Section 42. Translation by Cyrus R. Edmonds (1873), p. 73

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