What does “cation exchange capacity” mean? Is it something that is beneficial for the environment, and if so, how do we make more of it?



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    Cation exchange capacity (CEC) is a chemical process that is very beneficial for the environment. We use this term mostly for soils. If a soil is mostly comprised of a certain mineral, which has certain ionic properties, the soil will tend to either attract or dispel it’s components to the source in the soil, usually a root of a plant. This is the reason why certain soils are better for agriculture as opposed to other types of soils with different mineral compositions. When minerals have overall net negative charges, they will attract positive charges. It is how plants get nutrients from the soil.

    In terms of “how to make more of it,” you can alter the composition of your soil. For example, you can increase the amount of organic matter in your soil such as composting. If you already have too much organic mater, you can aerate your soil. You can lime your soil, which increases pH (more basic soil), which increases CEC.

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