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Organic Matter

by Achim Dobermann
Published: Last Updated on
Organic Matter

Organic matter, also known as organic material, refers to the carbon-based compounds that make up living organisms and their by-products. These materials can include everything from plant and animal debris to microorganisms and their excrement. It plays a critical role in the health and functioning of ecosystems around the world, and its presence is essential for many key ecological processes.

One of the most important functions of organic matter is its role in soil formation and fertility. Organic material helps to improve soil structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient availability. It also supports the growth of microorganisms and other soil life, which in turn helps to break down and recycle nutrients, making them available to plants.

Historically, organic matter has been used by farmers and gardeners as a way to improve soil fertility and crop yields. In ancient cultures, such as the Maya and Aztecs, farmers used a variety of organic materials, including animal manure, to improve soil health and increase crop yields. Today, it is still widely used in agriculture, with farmers and gardeners often using compost and other organic materials to improve soil health and boost crop yields.

Currently, the global status of organic matter is in a state of decline due to human activities such as land use change, urbanization, and deforestation, which have led to a reduction in the amount of organic matter found in soils around the world. This decline has significant implications for both the health of ecosystems and the ability of humans to grow food.

According to scientific evidence, the decline in organic matter can lead to a reduction in soil fertility, increased erosion, and a decline in biodiversity. This can have negative effects on crop yields, water quality, and the ability of ecosystems to adapt to a changing climate.

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The causes of the decline in organic matter are complex, but human activities are a major contributor. Land use change, urbanization, and deforestation all reduce the amount of organic matter in soils, as does the overuse of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Additionally, climate change, which can alter precipitation patterns and increase the frequency of droughts and floods, can also contribute to the decline of it.

There are many types of organic matter, including living organisms, dead plant and animal material, and microorganisms. Each type plays a different role in the ecosystem, with living organisms and microorganisms contributing to nutrient cycling, and dead plant and animal material providing habitat and food for other organisms.

The purpose of it is to provide essential nutrients to plants and support the growth of microorganisms and other soil life, which in turn helps to break down and recycle nutrients. Additionally, it also helps to improve soil structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient availability.

There are many uses of organic matter, including in agriculture, horticulture, and landscaping. It can be used to improve soil health, increase crop yields, and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Additionally, it is also used in the production of biofuels and in the treatment of wastewater.

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The management of organic matter is essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and for supporting human activities such as agriculture and forestry. Factors that influence the management of organic matter include land use, climate, and the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

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In conclusion, organic matter is a critical component of ecosystems around the world, playing a vital role in soil formation and fertility, nutrient cycling, and supporting the growth of microorganisms and other soil life. However, the decline in it due to human activities has significant implications for both the health of ecosystems and the ability of humans to grow food. Therefore, it is crucial to use organic matter management practices that support the sustainable use of this vital resource

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