Lesson 13 - Lesson13...

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Lesson 13   Page 1  Soil is most often thought of as being fundamental to life on Earth through its connection to and  interaction with plants. Plants' dependence on soil is significant to people because our global food  supply is dependent upon it. However, 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.  1. What are some uses of soil?  a. 2. What are the five essential functions of soil?  a. (1) provides a  medium for the growth of higher plants   b. (2) controls the  fate of water in the hydrologic system  by regulating and purifying  the water supply  c. (3)  recycles raw-material  by decomposing organisms and biological material and  storing/reusing it  d. (4) provides a  habitat for organisms   e. (5) supports the anthropogenic ecosystem through its use as an  engineering medium   f. 3. According to your lesson, what is the definition of soil? a.   Soil  is a zone at the Earth's surface with a distinctive organization of mineral and  organic matter and pore space. Soil is created by the dynamic interactions of  biological, chemical, and physical processes. Page 2  Soil is a very complex, natural system: one that plays an integral role in the global environment and  has a significant impact on both the physical and cultural landscapes. There are many ways that we  can describe soils including its components, texture, color, and horizons.  1. Name and describe the four primary soil components.  a. Soil air Generally, soil air has a higher CO 2  content than our atmosphere due to all the soil  fauna respiring. Soil air is needed for healthy soil organisms, which aid in many soil  functions. b. Soil water Soil water is needed for plant growth. Both nutrients and organisms move around the soil in its water. Soil water is also important because it helps determine how acidic a soil is (i.e., its pH). Soil pH influences: i. the kinds of fauna that can survive in a soil; ii. mineral weathering;
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iii. which nutrients are available to be used by plants. Due to the attraction among water molecules, minerals, and organic material, there is usually water present in a soil. When a soil dries to a certain point, however, the remaining water molecules become held very tightly by the solid materials making them unavailable to plants. c. Soil organic material Soil organic material (SOM) comes from decomposing organisms (by bacteria or fungi) and biological material that are slowly incorporated into the soil. SOM is an important source of carbon and plays a very important role in a
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Lesson 13 - Lesson13...

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