There are two main classes of manures in soil management: green manures and animal manures. Compost is distinguished from manure in that it is the decomposed remnants of organic materials (which may, nevertheless, include manure).
Environmentally, the use of compost has been shown to remediate, or clean up, contaminated soils by reducing toxic runoffs, binding certain toxins that might otherwise escape, and it prevents erosion when used near roadways, lakes, rivers, and streams. In addition to the biological, chemical, and environmental benefits of compost, the use of compost creates economic benefits. Using compost reduces the amount of fertilizer, water, and pesticides needed to produce healthy plants, and it is cheaper than artificial soils.