The importance of soil organic matter
Key to drought-resistant soil and sustained food production
Soil organic matter - the product of on-site biological decomposition - affects the chemical and physical properties of the soil and its overall health. Its composition and breakdown rate affect: the soil structure and porosity; the water infiltration rate and moisture holding capacity of soils; the diversity and biological activity of soil organisms; and plant nutrient availability. This Soils Bulletin concentrates on the organic matter dynamics of cropping soils and discusses the circumstances that deplete organic matter and their negative outcomes. It then moves on to more proactive solutions. It reviews a "basket" of practices in order to show how they can increase organic matter content and discusses the land and cropping benefits that then accrue.