Soil is a complex and dynamic natural resource on the Earth's surface. It supports plant growth, affects water and air quality, and helps clean up natural and human-made wastes. NIFA is involved in a diverse range of research, education, and outreach activities to better understand, maintain, and restore the health of this vital natural resource.
Soils affect agricultural productivity and sustainability, ecosystem stability, and global change. Soils provide physical support, water, air, and nutrients for plants, and they receive natural and man-made materials and wastes. At the same time, soils contain an immense diversity of microorganisms, plants, and animals. This dynamic combination of life, water, nutrients, and minerals can remove and transform harmful products while storing and recycling water, nutrients, and other elements needed for life on Earth.