A healthy soil is a mixture of soil particles, air and liquid. Air and liquid take up space in the area that is called a soil pore. When soil is subjected to pressure, it tends to compress – called soil compaction. The main effect this has on soil reducing the pore space between soil particles. Pores contain vital air and liquids for plants and soil microbes.
The pressure can come from a footprint or tractor wheels. In healthy soils, this air provides needed oxygen to soil microbes and plant roots. When soil is compacted, there is less air – and thus less oxygen for microbes, roots, etc. In addition, in soils with less pore space, water has no path to flow down into the soil.
Compaction in agriculture and forestry
A major cause of man-made compaction in agriculture is related to the use of heavy machinery. For example, as…
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