Soil is important because it provides the nutrients that plants need to grow. When a plant grows, it feeds the animals that consume them, which in turn, feed humans. Soil also filters fresh water as it travels through underwater rivers called aquifers.
Without the soil, humans would be unable to eat fruits, vegetables and meat. Soil regulates the Earth's ecosystems by supporting a wide variety of flowering plants and enabling farming and food production. The rate of farming has grown exponentially in recent years due to the development of highly mechanized techniques that increase the effectiveness of soil. Fertilizers are also used to improve the quality of soil in farmland so that agricultural products can be grown abundantly and shipped over vast distances.
Soil is also important to the survival of forests around the world. Soil makes extensive timber production possible in addition to providing fuel and shelter to a wide range of plants and animals. One of the best known types of forests is the rain forest, found in the Amazon basin and in tropical Africa. The soil in these areas is rich in nutrients that enable the dense forests to thrive year after year. Unlike rain forests, desert areas cannot produce a wide variety of plant and animal life because these areas have poor soils and unfavorable climates.