The Groundwork:

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 07:08

 Take a moment to think about these statements:Buzzards have a taste for rabbits; rabbits eat grass and grass has its roots in soilDartford Warblers eat a lot of spiders; spiders catch flies and other insects in their webs, those insects were probably feeding on flower pollen and the flowers were growing in soilBlue tits feed their young mainly on small caterpillars; the caterpillars are often those that feed on the leaves of broadleaved trees and the trees, of course, have their roots in soilMany human beings like a beef steak that comes from cows that are farmed by feeding them in pasture that consists of grass growing in soilI could go on with many, many more examples and these are, of course, very simplified food chains.All animals need to feed on something and at the 'lowest' level this is vegetation of some sort and all vegetation needs the nutrients that it gets from soil. There are several key points here:Without soil there would be no vegetation and without vegetation there would be no animals - soil is the basis of all life on earthThe nature of the soil in any one place dictates what plant species can survive and prosper there and that, in turn, can have a profound effect on what animals can survive there This combination of soil, plants and animals is how we identify and classify habitatHabitats consist of a mineral layer, vegetable matter that feeds on the mineral layer and an animal layer that feeds on vegetation (or other animals) - animal, vegetable and mineral There are not an infinite array of habitats as there are not an infinite array of soils and so habitat can be classified and the characteristics of each habitat class can be identified and assist in our understanding of nature.