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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

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