This diagram shows the movement of carbon between land, atmosphere, and oceans in billions of tons of carbon per year. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes and red are human contributions of carbon (both change CO2 in the atmosphere). White numbers indicate stored carbon. Climate change scientists focus on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere (800 Gt) and vegetation (550 Gt). But soil contains more carbon than air and plants combined (2,300 Gt). So, even a minor change in soil carbon could have major implications for the earth\'s atmosphere and climate.
Most gardeners know about the importance of working with nature to increase soil health and thus the success of our gardens. But many gardeners do not appreciate the central role mycorrhizal fungi play for healthy plants and healthy soil.
There is a sort of biological magic that happens between mycorrhizal fungi and plant roots called symbiosis where the plant provides the mycorrhiza with the sugars they need to keep growing, and the fungi provide the plants with more efficient access to soil nutrients. Mycorrhiza develop fungal "roots" that merge with the cell walls of the plant roots and grow into them, creating structures that allow for the transfer of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen from soil to the fungi to the plant.