sso10 - Soil Morphology and Description(Topic#1 What is a...

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Soil Morphology and Description (Topic #1) What is a soil? A dynamic ( i.e., continuously changing) natural body composed of mineral materials, organic materials, gases, liquids and living organisms which can serve as a medium for plant growth. Soil is one of our “ultimate” resources, like water and air Soil is a slowly renewable resource A soil is both an ecosystem in itself & a critical part of the larger terrestrial ecosystem Functions of soils in our ecosystem 1. Medium for plant growth for food, fiber, forage & fuel - source of support, nutrients, water and air 2. Recycling of raw materials - organic wastes are broken down and nutrients are released 3. Habitat for soil organisms - a handful of soil contains billions of organisms from thousands of species 4. Regulator and purifier of water supplies - water storage and cleansing 5. Engineering medium - building material 6. Producing energy – biofuels (e.g., ethanol, palm oil) What is a typical soil composed of? Approximately 50% solids and 50% pore space 1. Mineral (inorganic) materials - decomposed rocks (45-50% - percent by volume) 2. Organic materials - remains of plants and animals (0-5%) 3. Water (20-30%) 4. Air (20-30%) There are about 19,000 different soils identified in the USA alone. In order to compare and contrast them, we must
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This note was uploaded on 01/27/2011 for the course SSO 10 taught by Professor Randydahlgren during the Fall '10 term at UC Davis.

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sso10 - Soil Morphology and Description(Topic#1 What is a...

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