What’s going on?

Soil is more than just dirt. It’s a complex ecosystem filled with living things, organic matter, minerals, and even liquids and gases.

Soil is important because it is a habitat for billions of tiny organisms. It is essential for growing plants, which drives food stability and agriculture (an industry that Florida depends on). Soil also provides many ecosystem services, like filtering and storing water, retaining nutrients, and preventing erosion.

Why it matters.

Soil in Florida is at risk from a number of climate change-related threats. Extreme weather events can cause erosion. Sea level rise can increase soil salinity. Rising temperatures can decrease the amount of water soil can hold. On the other hand, human mismanagement can contaminate soil or disrupt the balance of nutrients.

Keeping soil healthy in Florida is trickier than in other states because the soil is relatively sandy. Ensuring soil thrives and is able to recover from problems requires unique management strategies.

What you can do.

  • In your home garden, test your soil and ensure it has balanced nutrients and pH. Visit UF IFAS Gardening Solutions for tips.
  • Learn more about techniques for improving agricultural soil, like maximizing soil cover, minimizing disturbances, rotating crops, and promoting biodiversity.
  • Support local farmers who use best practices for soil health.
  • Share your thoughts about the importance of soil with your legislators and agricultural leaders.