Soil Organic Matter (SOM) is an important component of soil comprised of carbon-containing compounds from dead and living plant and animal materials. Organic matter performs many functions that support soil heath, such as increasing CEC and soil water-holding capacity. It also improves soil structure and decreases risk of soil compaction.
Increasing SOM concentration is important for improving overall soil heath. Values for SOM concentration are most useful to assess whether management practices have a positive or negative impact on soil health. To assess impact of management practices on SOM and soil health, it is best to compare soil samples:
- from the same area over time, or
- for areas with a similar soil type and different management practices.