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University of Toronto Scarborough
Environmental Science
Carl Mitchell

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 o Fundamental to the support of life on our planet and provision of food for the growing human population o Renewable if managed carefully but at risk in many places around the world o Consists very roughly half mineral matter with rest of pore space taken up by air, water, and other soil gases o Organic matter in soil includes living and dead microorganisms as well as decaying material derived from plants and animals o Provides 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 o Can 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 www.notesolution.com
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