Soil is the interface between the living and the non-living, providing humans with 99.7 per cent* of all food consumed worldwide.

Globally, we’re dependent on the provision of ecosystem goods and services mediated by soils, estimated to be worth $US11 trillion per year. But soil systems are experiencing unprecedented pressure due to an increasing world population and a concurrent decrease in available productive land. In the coming decades, soil scientists will play an increasingly important role in helping to address these persistent and inter-connected global issues.

Soil science examines the thin, outermost layer of the Earth’s crust, integrating the disciplines of physics, biology, chemistry, ecology and statistics.

Soil is the Earth’s most complex system, with one gram of soil harbouring up to 1 billion bacterial cells with up to 50,000 different species. It provides a range of services and functions, including food production, processing and recycling of nutrients, water purification, habitat for soil organisms, foundation for infrastructure, and modification of the atmosphere.

You'll learn about all of these complexities on our soil science courses, which cover varied subjects such as the chemical, physical, and biological properties of soil, the importance of maintaining and enhancing soil fertility, and how these soil properties relate to land use and management decisions.

*Food and Agriculture Organization