This is a problem-based applied soil science unit addressing the physical, chemical and biological components of soil function. It is designed to allow students to identify soil-related problems in the real-world and by working in a group and with an end-user, to suggest short and long-term solutions to problems such as fertility, resilience, carbon management, structural decline, acidification, salinisation and contamination. Students will gain a focused knowledge of the key soil drivers to environmental problems and will have some understanding on the constraints surrounding potential solutions. By designing and administering strategies to tackle real-world soil issues, students will develop their research and inquiry skills and enhance their intellectual autonomy. By producing reports and seminars that enables understanding by an end-user, students will improve the breadth of their communication skills. This is a core unit for students majoring or specialising in soil science and an elective unit for those wishing to gain an understanding of environmental problem-solving. It utilises and reinforces soil-science knowledge gained in SOIL2003 and SOIL2004, as well as generic problem-solving skills gained during the degree program.
Problem-based unit: each student completes one problem as part of a team, involving multiple team meetings
Introduction to the problem group presentation (10%), status of the problem group report (10%), how to tackle the problem seminar (20%) - team seminars; before fieldwork; analyses done, results seminar (20%) - team seminars; final group report (25%), activities diary for group (15%)
Reference book: I.W.Heathcote 1997. Environmental Problem Solving: A Case Study Approach. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, USA.