Soil and water are the two most essential natural resources on the Earth's surface which influence all forms of terrestrial life. This unit of study is designed to introduce students to the fundamental properties and processes of soil and water that affect food security and sustain ecosystems. These properties and processes are part of the grounding principles that underpin crop and animal production, nutrient and water cycling, and environmental sustainability. You will participate in a field excursion to examine soils in a landscape to develop knowledge and understanding of soil properties, water storage, water movement and cycling of organic carbon and nutrients in relation to food production and ecosystem functioning. At the end of this unit you will be able to articulate and quantify the factors and processes that determine the composition and behaviour of soil, composition of water, soil water storage and the movement of water on the land surface. You will also be able to describe the most important properties of soil and water for food production and sustaining ecosystem functions and link this to human and climatic factors. The field excursion, report and laboratory/computer exercises have been designed to develop communication, team work and collaborative efforts.
Lectures: 3 hours per week; lab: 3 hours per week for 10 weeks
Field excursion: attendance and creative assessment (5%), the attendance at the excursion is compulsory to get any mark for this assessment task; quiz: (10%); written assignment: modelling assessment including modelling (15%); laboratory report: group oral presentation and written assignment (20%); final exam: written exam (50%)
Brady, N.C. and Ray R. Weil. (2007). The Nature and Properties of Soils. 14th Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey. White, R.E. (2006) Principles and Practice of Soil Science: the Soil as a Natural Resource. 4th ed., Blackwell Science, Oxford. Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten (Eds.) (2012). Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780199575923. Kutllek, M and Nielsen, D.R. (2015). Soil: The Skin of the Planet Earth, Springer, ISBN: 978-94-017-9788-7 (Print) 978-94-017-9789-4 (Online). Gordon, N. D., McMahon, T. A., Finlayson, B. L., Gippel, C. J., and Nathan, R. J. (2004) Stream Hydrology: an Introduction for Ecologists, John Wiley and Sons Inc.
SOIL2003 or LWSC2002