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Chapter 15 Soil Resources

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 15 Soil Resources"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 15 Soil Resources

2 Overview of Chapter 15 What is soil? Soil Properties Major Soil Orders
Soil Problems Soil Conservation Soil Reclamation

3 Soil Uppermost layer of earth’s crust that supports plants, animals and microbes Soil Forming Factors Parent Material Time Climate Organisms Topography

4 Soil Composition Mineral Particles (45%) Organic Material (5%)
Weathered rock Provides essential nutrients for plants Organic Material (5%) Litter, animal dung, dead remains of plants and animals, humus (picture) Water (25%) Air (25%)

5 Soil Composition Pore space 50% of soil Soil air- good for aeration
Soil water- provides water to roots

6 Soil Horizons O-horizon A-horizon B-horizon C-horizon
Rich in organic material A-horizon Topsoil B-horizon Lighter colored subsoil C-horizon Weathered parent material

7 Soil Organisms There are millions of microorganisms in 1 tsp of fertile agricultural soil

8 Soil Organisms Soil organisms provide ecosystem services Examples
Def: Important environmental benefits that ecosystems provide Examples Decaying and cycling organic material Breaking down toxic materials Cleansing water Soil aeration (especially done by earthworms)

9 Nutrient Cycling Nutrients are cycled between plants, organisms and soil Example Bacteria and fungi decompose plant and animal wastes They are transformed into CO2, soil nutrients and water

10 Soil Properties Soil Texture
Relative proportion of sand, silt and clay Sand: 2mm-0.05mm Silt: 0.05mm-0.002mm Clay: >0.002mm

11 Soil Properties Soil texture affects soil properties
Coarse textured soil (sandy) Will not hold water well- flows through easily Fine textured soil (high in clay) Poor drainage Low oxygen levels in soil Due to negatively charged surface, able to hold onto important plant nutrients (K+, Ca2+, NO2-)


13 Soil Properties

14 Soil Properties Soil Acidity Measured using pH scale
0-7 = acidic 7 = neutral 7-14 = basic pH of most soils range from 4-8 Affects solubility of certain plant nutrients Optimum soil pH is 6-7 This is the pH where plant nutrients are most available to plants Soil amendments (ex: lime) can be used to achieve this pH

15 Soil Problems Soil Erosion Why a problem?
Def: wearing away or removal of soil from the land Caused primarily by water and wind Why a problem? Causes a loss in soil fertility as organic material and nutrients are eroded More fertilizers must be used to replace nutrients lost to erosion Accelerated by poor soil management practices

16 Case in Point: American Dust Bowl
Great Plains have low precipitation and subject to drought severe drought No natural vegetation roots to hold soil in place Replaced by annual crops Winds blew soil as far east as NYC and DC. Farmers went bankrupt

17 Soil Problems Nutrient Mineral Depletion

18 Soil Problems Soil Salinization Often in arid and semi-arid areas
Def: gradual accumulation of salt in the soil, usually due to improper irrigation techniques Often in arid and semi-arid areas The little precipitation that falls is quickly evaporated Leaves behind salts Salt concentrations get to levels toxic to plants

19 Soil Problems Desertification Typically a human-induced condition
Def: degradation of once-fertile rangeland, agricultural land, or tropical dry forest into nonproductive desert Typically a human-induced condition Change in vegetation changes climate, further decreasing precipitation levels

20 Soil Conservation Conservation Tillage Crop Rotation
Residues from previous year’s crops are left in place to prevent soil erosion Includes no tillage Crop Rotation Planting a series of different crops in the same field over a period of years Lessens pest and insect disease

21 Soil Conservation Contour Plowing Strip Cropping Terracing
Plowing around hill instead of up-down Decreases soil erosion Strip Cropping Alternating strips of different crops along natural contours Terracing Creating terraces on steep slopes to prevent erosion Terracing

22 Preserving Soil Fertility
Organic fertilizers Animal manure, crop residue, bone meal and compost Nutrient available to plants only as material decomposes Slow acting and long lasting Inorganic fertilizers Manufactured from chemical compounds Soluble Fast acting, short lasting Environmentally sound to limit use Mobile- easily leach and pollute groundwater

23 Soil Reclamation Two steps Best way to do this is shelterbelts
Stabilize land to prevent further erosion Restoring soil to former fertility Best way to do this is shelterbelts Row of trees planted to reduce wind erosion of soil

24 Soil Conservation Policies in US
Soil Conservation Act 1935 Authorized formation of Soil Conservation Service, now called Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Assess soil damage and develop policies to improve soil Food Security Act (Farm Bill) 1985 Required farmers with highly erodible soil had to change their farming practices Instituted Conservation Reserve Program Pays farmers to stop farming highly erodible land

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