The Soils Around Us

The Soils Around Us
Soils and Ecosystems in Crisis
“The coming 50 years are likely to be the final period of rapidly
expanding, global human environmental impacts. Future agricultural
practices will shape, perhaps irreversibly, the surface of the Earth,
including its species, biogeochemistry and utility to society”
Agricultural use of soil systems faces challenges:
– Need for increased production per hectare
– Need to reduce environmental footprint
• Fertilizer use and loss
• energy
– Resist land loss by erosion, urbanization, etc.
World Food Production
Maintained pace due to
inputs of energy and
World Food Production
Pace and efficiency are
declining with time
World Food Production
Pace and
efficiency are
declining with
The fundamental
resource (soils)
are declining
with time
Functions of soils in ecosystems
Biologically Essential Elements
Soils as an Environmental Interface
The Soil System
3d component of Earth surface
Dimensions a human construct
System allows us to quantify
inputs, outputs, and changes
Soil system is a component of
The Soil System
Dynamic with time
Properties depend on
state factors
The Soil System
Result of combination
of factors is unique soil
Horizons and other
properties depend on
state factors
Soil Horizons/Profile
Importance of Knowledge of Whole Soil
Soil Composition
• solids
• gases
• water
• life
Soil pH
Soil Particle Sizes
Nutrient Sources in Soils
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