The depth of topsoil differs from region to region. It can be as shallow as an inch, or as deep as two feet in farm fields. Topsoil is the richest layer of soil in organic and inorganic materials, and is able to support plant life because of this.
Everything mike said is accurate, I’m just expanding on his foundation a bit. Topsoil, due to the rich suite of organic and inorganic materials, is also extremely important for agriculture and general plant growth. It’s where much of the nutrients plant life depends can be found. Erosion is a serious threat to topsoil, and when a region loses its topsoil it can lead to desertification. Topsoil can also be depleted of its nutrients via intensive farming.
According to author Peter Fossel, topsoil does not typically extend beyond 15 inches below the surface. In this space exists a microcosm–a “microherd,”so to speak–of bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and other subterranean creatures that act as a recycling center for the Earth’s wastes.
What is then created is a system of underground “pipes,” pores that weave under the surface allowing for the smooth passing of water and necessary nutrients (Arnold).
Arnold, Richard W. “Soil Changes and New Ways to Monitor Them.” Agriculture and the Environment: The 1991 Yearbook of Agriculture (1991): 29.
Fossel, Peter V. Organic Farming: Everything You Need to Know. St. Paul: Voyageur P, 2007: 27.
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