"Soil is not a dead substrate for the living. It is the matrix where the mineral and organic worlds meet to create a living body in nature. We might do well to set our sights on becoming like the dung beetle: a constant user of the soil whose use in fact improves it.
Even to many landscape designers today, the soil is often just a set of numbers: some little bags for testing. Their real interest is in the paving, the benches, the plants and the shapes. A young woman I was planting trees with in the Bronx got it righter: Dirt is more alive than we are, she said. Fourth-fifths of the respiration in a forest in upstate New York, for example, comes from the creatures who live in the soil."
William Bryant Logan is an arborist, teacher and writer. Logan is the author of three books, Dirt, Oak, and Air, all from WW Norton. Twenty-five years ago, he founded Urban Arborists in New York City. The firm cares for the largest and oldest trees in the city, and for such institutions as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Madison Square Park, Battery Park, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Logan is on the faculty of the New York Botanical Garden. He is on the board of directors of the Edmund N. Huyck Preserve and Biological Field Station.