lesson 13 - Key Terms and Concepts - soil - functions of...

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Key Terms and Concepts - soil - functions of soil - soil properties: components, texture, color, horizons - regolith - parent material - solum - soil profiles - soil-forming processes - pedogenic regimes: six types, characteristics - soil-forming factors - soil types (orders) - soil geography: global, US, and Michigan trends - ways that people use soil - agricultural practices - land degradation - conservation practices Introduction to soils In the last lesson you were introduced to some of the processes responsible for shaping the landscape and some of the landforms associated with a glaciated region. You also explored how people have been influenced by and have themselves influenced the Michigan landscape. In staying with the "The Land & People " theme of this unit, this lesson was designed to introduce you to the surficial material that covers landforms and landscapes. In this lesson we will learn about the 'skin of the earth'. ..the soil ...and its importance to the environment and people. The Earth's global environment can be thought of as the product of the interaction among five essential realms, the: atmosphere (the air), hydrosphere (the water), biosphere (the living world), lithosphere (the land), and cryosphere (the frozen world). Soils most often are thought of as being fundamental to life on Earth primarily through its connection to and interaction with plants. Plants' dependence on soil is significant to people because our global food supply is entirely dependent upon it, mostly through agriculture. Soils do more than just grow our food. The importance of soils extends beyond their connection to and interaction with plant ecosystems and the capacity of the land to support animal life and society (in other words, the biosphere). In fact, many people never appreciate that soils play an integral role in the first four of the global "spheres" listed above. Although we will not have
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enough time in this lesson to discuss the role of soils in each one of these spheres, I would like you to be aware of the far-reaching importance of soils in our global environment. What is Soil? How do you define soil? One of the fascinating things about soil is that its definition varies depending on how it's used. In other words, people typically view or define soil based on how they use or interact with it . Some people view soils in terms of its productivity and fertility, while others view soils as mother nature's filter or composter or ultimate recycler. Some people view soil as a home for countless plants and animals or the material that blankets the earth. Some people view soil as the stuff or overburden that needs to be moved before construction starts. Even still. ..some people view soil as dirt -- you know, that stuff that gets tracked all over your house. Other people, such as soil geographers, view the soil in yet a different way: as a natural body whose characteristics and uses vary spatially at different scales, from local to global. In the global ecosystem
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2009 for the course ISS 731 taught by Professor A.arbogast during the Summer '09 term at Michigan State University.

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lesson 13 - Key Terms and Concepts - soil - functions of...

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