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Textbook Notes


Department
Environmental Science
Course Code
EESA01H3
Professor
Carl Mitchell

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Chapter Seven: Soils and Agriculture
SOIL AS A SYSTEM
Soil a complex plant-supporting system consisting of disintegrated rock,
organic matter, air, water, nutrients, and microorganisms
oFundamental to the support of life on our planet and provision of food
for the growing human population
oRenewable if managed carefully but at risk in many places around the
world
oConsists very roughly half mineral matter with rest of pore space
taken up by air, water, and other soil gases
oOrganic matter in soil includes living and dead microorganisms as well
as decaying material derived from plants and animals
oProvides habitat for earthworms, insects, invertebrates, burrowing
mammals, amphibians, and reptiles
Composition of a regions soil can have as much influence on the regions
ecosystems as do the climate, latitude, and elevation
Soil formation is slow and complex
Formation of soil plays a key role in terrestrial primary succession
Parent material the base geological material in a particular location
oCan include lava or volcanic ash, rock or sediment deposited by
glaciers, wind blown dunes, sediments deposited by rivers, lakes, or
ocean, or bedrock
Bedrock the continuous mass of solid rock that makes up Earths crust
Process most responsible for soil formation are weathering, erosion, and the
deposition and decomposition of organic matter
Weathering the physical, biological, and chemical processes that breaks
down rocks and minerals, turning large particles into smaller particles
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