Principles of soil health

Although soil type cannot be easily changed, knowing which soil type is present helps determine how to manage the soil to optimise its structure, water relations, and nutrient supply.

Soil is an essential natural resource

Healthy, fertile soil is a dynamic living system with physical, chemical and biological properties that promote plant and animal health and maintain environmental quality.

Soil classification (type)

Soils are formed over thousands of years and reflect geology, past climate, vegetation, landscape, human activity, and management.

Find out more about the inherent properties of different soil types

Soil structure

Good soil structure is important for crop growth. Here, you’ll discover the features and benefits of well-structured soil, as well as the impacts of poor soil structure and compaction.

Discover more about maintaining good soil structure

Soil organic matter

Organic matter is critical to soil health. Discover what it is and how it can enhance the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil.

Learn about the role of organic matter in soil

Water and soils

From rainfall to evaporation and plant transpiration, water is one of the major influences on the state of soil. Find out why it’s so important to understand the role of water in soil management.

Read about the dynamics of soil-water relations

Principles to improve soil health

Although soils and management practices vary from farm to farm and field to field, there are some general principles that underpin all farming systems that have healthy soils. These aim to keep chemical, physical, and biological properties in balance.

Find out more about the principles to improve soil health

Useful links

Read the Principles of soil management guide

If you would like to order a hard copy of Principles of soil management, please contact publications@ahdb.org.uk or call 0247 799 0069

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Amanda Bennett

Environment Scientist

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