Soil as a compartment of the biosphere and as a scientific discipline is involved in most global challenges including climate change, food security, energy, water resources, and ecosystem functioning. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of soils studies, no single section in AGU holistically integrates the interests and professional preparation of current and future students, or fosters vibrant soil science discipline.
The activities of the “Soil and Critical Zone Technical Committee” will broaden understanding of critical functions and ecosystem services of soils in Earth Systems, integrate the interests of soils across AGU sections, and provide context for the following key roles of soil:
- Soil is a functioning, complex natural system with unique characteristics that cannot be deduced from a collection of its constituents or individual processes.
- Soil is the most biologically active compartment of the biosphere, hosting Earth’s largest pool of biodiversity.
- Soil is a thin film of life covering much of the terrestrial surface and acting as the planet’s life support system; mineral weathering in soils controls nutrient release and occlusion.
- Soil, with its related biota, is Earth’s recycling system, providing most of our needs for food, feed, fiber, and energy, while forming a global biogeochemical cycle of C, N, and P and serving as the largest terrestrial stock of organic carbon.
- Soil provides essential ecosystem services such as provision of fresh and clean water, essential for human primary needs of drinking water and food production, and functions as a water purification system.