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Biodiversity Day 2021

Last updated: 17 May 2021

When we think of biodiversity you may think of plants, animals and birds, we rarely think of the biodiversity underneath our feet. Good soil biodiversity is key to ensuring soil health and food and nutritional security.

Soil in hands_73690

Bitoa describes all the animal and plant life in the soil, including micro-organisms which are not always visible to the naked eye such as fungi, bacteria and nematodes. Soil organisms contribute a wide range of essential services to the sustainable function of all ecosystems including:

  • soil stability
  • decomposition of organic matter
  • nutrient cycling
  • nutrient uptake by plants
  • disease suppression
  • induced systemic resistance
  • plant growth promotion
  • production of antibiotics and hormones
  • toxin breakdown (pesticides, pollutants)

A diverse biota is required to, maximise soil health and crop potential, reduce reliance on artificial inputs, achieve better disease resistance in crops, and improve food supplies for farmland wildlife.

There are a number of steps you can take to measure and improve soil biodiversity and soil health:

  • No-till or conservation tillage
  • Cover crops
  • Diverse crop rotations
  • Perennial crops
  • Increasing organic matter
  • Integrated pest and weed management
  • Effective nutrient management planning

For more information on soils visit the CFE soils pages