The Powerful Relationship Between Soil and Fungi
What Is Soil?
Soil is the rich material that makes agriculture possible. It’s very different from dirt. Soil is also present in natural ecosystems, nurturing plant life with decaying material which then feeds animals in a virtuous circle of life. On the other hand, dirt is dead. Many people don’t give a second thought to soil because they’re so focused on the plants that grow out of the dirt. But unhealthy soil is a recipe for ecological disaster. Read on to learn more about the powerful relationship between soil and fungi.
What Relationship Does Fungi Have With Soil?
Fungi play a key role in keeping soil healthy. Mycelial networks can break down difficult material and transform it into nutrients for burgeoning ecosystems. Without an active collection of fungi, forests wouldn’t be able to process all that organic material fast enough. The forest floor would quickly become covered with dried leaves and fallen twigs, and plants wouldn’t have a fighting chance. Instead, fungi break down this material so that plants can easily digest it as nutrients.
In addition to their daily role in nourishing the forest’s soil, fungi play a key role in rescuing ecosystems from human-caused disasters. For instance, some types of fungi can break down harsh chemical and oil spills. This is a process known as mycoremediation. Scientists are still learning about how mushrooms are capable of breaking down such difficult material. But they don’t need to understand the specifics to put fungi to work in resolving climate disasters.
On December 5, people around the world will mark World Soil Day. Take a moment to educate yourself about the role that mushrooms play in creating healthy soil. Hopefully now you understand the powerful relationship between soil and fungi. When you realize that fungi play a key role in feeding the forest and feeding your family, you might start celebrating world soil day every day!