Celebrating Urban Soils

SESL Australia

Photo: Steven Walling

In 2015, the International Year of Soils, soil scientists around the globe are celebrating, perhaps with soil themed cakes, or enjoying the many beverages soil produces. Many of us soil scientists see 2015 as the metaphorical magnifying glass we’ve been waiting for to finally bring to focus what we’ve known for years – soil is a foundation for life. Without soil there would be no plants, no animals, no humans. Soil is as essential as water, oxygen, and light. (Perhpas coincidentally, 2015 is also the International Year of Light).  

Soil Science America has developed 12 monthly themes to highlight the diversity of soil and it’s importance to our everyday lives. February’s theme was ‘Soils support urban life‘. With 80% of America’s population and nearly 70% of Australia’s population as urban dwellers, it’s high time we appreciated this complex mantle that supports not only our houses, roads and buildings, but our parks, gardens, street trees and sports fields too.  

One of SESL’s areas of expertise is urban soil science and urban horticulture. Whether it be a home garden, elite sports field, urban farm, a tree lined boulevard, green wall or roof garden, we stick to the mantra that people don’t grow plants, soil grows plants. Our environmental and soil scientists work with urban soil on contamination assessments, erosion management, soil reuse on construction sites, and in living landscapes to ensure safe, healthy and vibrant green spaces in our cities. 

The short video below has been created by the Soil Science Society of America as a tribute to urban soils.