Types Of Soil And Its Uses Pdf

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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. S oil, water, air, and plants are vital natural resources that help to produce food and fiber for humans.

They also maintain the ecosystems on which all life on Earth ultimately depends. Soil serves as a medium for plant growth; a sink for heat, water, and chemicals; a filter for water; and a biological medium for the breakdown of wastes. Soil interacts intimately with water, air, and plants and acts as a damper to fluctuations in the environment. Soil mediates many of the ecological processes that control water and air quality and that promote plant growth.

Concern about the soil resource base needs to expand beyond soil productivity to include a broader concept of soil quality that encompasses all of the functions soils perform in natural and agricultural ecosystems. In the past, soil productivity and loss of soil productivity resulting from soil degradation have been the bases for concern about the world's soils.

Equally important, however, are the functions soils perform in the regulation of water flow in watersheds, global emissions of greenhouse gases, attenuation of natural and artificial wastes, and regulation of air and water quality. These functions are impaired by soil degradation. The ability of modern agricultural management systems to sustain the quality of soil, water, and air is being questioned.

This chapter suggests methods that can be used to evaluate whether soil quality is being degraded, improved, or maintained under given management systems and methods of evaluating whether alternative management systems will sustain the quality of soil resources.

Soil quality is best defined in relation to the functions that soils perform in natural and agroecosystems. The quality of soil resources has historically been closely related to soil productivity Bennett and Chapline, ; Lowdermilk, ; Hillel, Indeed, in many cases the terms soil quality and soil productivity have been nearly synonymous Soil Science Society of America, More recently, however, there is growing recognition that the functions soils carry out in natural and agroecosystems go well beyond promoting the growth of plants.

The need to broaden the concept of soil quality beyond traditional concerns for soil productivity have been highlighted at a series of recent conferences and symposia. Johnson and colleagues , in a paper presented at a Symposium on Soil Quality Standards hosted by the Soil Science Society of America in October suggested that soil quality should be defined in terms of the function soils play in the environment and defined soil function as ''the potential utility of soils in landscapes resulting from the natural combination of soil chemical, physical, and biological attributes" page They recommended that policies to protect soil resources should protect the soil's capacity to serve several functions simultaneously including the production of food, fiber and fuel; nutrient and carbon storage; water filtration, purification, and storage; waste storage and degradation; and the maintenance of ecosystem stability and resiliency.

Larson and Pierce defined soil quality as "the capacity of a soil to function, both within its ecosystem boundaries e. They proposed "fitness for use" as a simple operational definition of soil quality and stressed the need to explicitly address the function of soils as a medium for plant growth, in partitioning and regulating the flow of water in the environment, and as an environmental buffer. Parr and colleagues , in a paper presented at a Workshop on Assessment and Monitoring of Soil Quality hosted by the Rodale Institute Research Center in July , defined soil quality as "the capability of a soil to produce safe and nutritious crops in a sustained manner over the long-term, and to enhance human and animal health, without impairing the natural resource base or harming the environment" page 6.

Parr and colleagues stressed the need to expand the notion of soil quality beyond soil productivity to include the role of the soil as an environmental filter affecting both air and water quality. They suggested that soil quality has important effects on the nutritional quality of the food. There is a growing recognition of the importance of the functions soils perform in the environment. The importance of those functions requires that scientists, policymakers, and producers adopt a broader definition of soil quality.

Soil quality is best defined as the capacity of a soil to promote the growth of plants; protect watersheds by regulating the infiltration and partitioning of precipitation; and prevent water and air pollution by buffering potential pollutants such as agricultural chemicals, organic wastes, and industrial chemicals. The quality of a soil is determined by a combination of physical, chemical, and biological properties such as texture, water-holding capacity, porosity, organic matter content, and depth.

Since these attributes differ among soils, soils differ in their quality. Some soils, because of their texture or depth, for example, are inherently more productive because they can store and make available larger amounts of water and nutrients to plants.

Similarly, some soils, because of their organic matter content, are able to immobilize or degrade larger amounts of potential pollutants. Soil management can either improve or degrade soil quality.

Erosion, compaction, salinization, sodification, acidification, and pollution with toxic chemicals can and do degrade soil quality. Increasing soil protection by crop residues and plants; adding organic matter to the soil through crop rotations, manures, or crop residues; and careful management of fertilizers, pesticides, tillage equipment, and other elements of the farming system can improve soil quality.

Soils have important direct and indirect impacts on agricultural productivity, water quality, and the global climate. Soils make it possible for plants to grow by mediating the biological, chemical, and physical processes that supply plants with nutrients, water, and other elements. Microorganisms in soils transform nutrients into forms that can be used by growing plants.

Soils are the storehouses for water and nutrients. Plants draw on these stores as needed to produce roots, stems, leaves, and, eventually, food and fiber for human consumption. Soils—and the biological, chemical, and physical processes they make possible—are a fundamental resource on which the productivities of agricultural and natural ecosystems depend. The soil, which interacts with landscape features and plant cover, is a key element in regulating and partitioning water flow through the.

Rainfall in terrestrial ecosystems falls on the soil surface where it either infiltrates the soil or moves across the soil surface into streams or lakes. The condition of the soil surface determines whether rainfall infiltrates or runs off.

If it enters the soil it may be stored and later taken up by plants, it may move into groundwaters or move laterally through the earth, appearing later in springs. This partitioning of rainfall determines whether a rainstorm results in a replenishing rain or a damaging flood. The movement of water through soils to streams, lakes, and groundwater is an essential component of the hydrological cycle.

The biological, chemical, and physical processes that occur in soils buffer environmental changes in air quality, water quality, and global climate Lal and Pierce, The soil matrix is the major incubation chamber for the decomposition of organic wastes, for example, pesticides, sewage, and solid wastes. Depending on how they are managed, soils can be important sources or sinks of carbon dioxide and other gases, also known as greenhouse gases, that contribute to the so-called greenhouse effect.

Soils store, degrade, or immobilize nitrates, phosphorus, pesticides, and other substances that can become air or water pollutants. Soil degradation through erosion, compaction. These processes reduce soil quality by changing the soil attributes, such as nutrient status, organic and labile carbon content organic carbon is the total amount of carbon held in the organic matter in the soil; labile carbon is that fraction of organic carbon that is most readily decomposable by soil microorganisms , texture, available water-holding capacity the amount of water that can be held in the soil and made available to plants , structure, maximum rooting depth, and pH a measure of the acidity or alkalinity.

Some changes in these soil attributes can be reversed by external inputs. Nutrient losses, for example, can be replaced by adding fertilizers. Other changes such as loss of the soil depth available for rooting because of soil erosion or degradation of soil structure because of subsoil compaction are much more difficult to reverse.

Damage to agricultural productivity has historically been the major concern regarding soil degradation. Agricultural technology has, in some cases, improved the quality of soils.

In other cases, improved technology has masked much of the yield loss that could be attributed to. Four major studies predicted that yield losses resulting from soil erosion would be less than 10 percent over the next years Crosson and Stout, ; Hagen and Dyke, ; Pierce et al. Such projections of low-yield losses, coupled with increasing concern over off-site water quality damages from agricultural production, have begun to shift the emphasis of federal policy to the off-site damages caused by erosion.

On-site losses of soil productivity from current degradative forces, however, have been underestimated. The projections for low levels of erosion-induced losses in agricultural productivity largely result from the hypothesis that almost two-thirds of U. Productivity losses on the remaining one-third of the lands may be serious Pierce et al.

More important, estimates of productivity losses resulting from erosion have not accounted for damages caused by gully and ephemeral erosion, sedimentation Pierce, , or reduced water availability because of decreased infiltration of precipitation.

Those studies also assumed that the optimum nutrient status is maintained on the eroding lands through application of fertilizers, manures, or other sources of plant nutrients. Replacing these nutrients comes at a cost. Larson and colleagues estimated that in the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium from U.

In addition, estimates of the effects of soil degradation on productivity have focused on the yield losses expected from erosion-induced damage to croplands. The nation's croplands are also being damaged by compaction, salinization, acidification, and other forces. These damages will add to the yield losses resulting from erosion. More important, erosion accelerates the processes of compaction, salinization, and acidification.

The reverse is also true. Yield losses will be greater than those projected in the past if all degradation processes and their interactions are considered. Walker and Young have suggested that the use of absolute crop yield reductions as the measure of productivity losses masks more. Even though this cropland has been tilled, ephemeral rills are still evident. During heavy rains, water will collect in these small channels and increase the severity of runoff.

Credit: U. Department of Agriculture. The analyses concluded that losses in potential yields will occur sooner and will be of greater magnitude than losses in absolute yields resulting from reduced soil quality. New, high-yielding crop varieties often require increased inputs of nutrients and more stable water regimes in order to produce maximum yield. Loss of soils' ability to hold and store nutrients and water can significantly restrain achievement of the full yield potentials of new agricultural technologies.

New technologies may allow yields to increase or stay the same, even in the face of soil degradation, but these yields may mask important losses in the productive potential that could have been realized if soil quality had not been reduced.

The true loss of productivity because of soil mismanagement or degradation is this loss in productive potential Walker and Young, Crosson and colleagues indicated that it is the cost of erosion, not predicted yield losses, that is really of interest. They suggested that farmers can substitute fertilizers, tillage, and other inputs for losses in soil productivity caused by soil erosion and that, from a production standpoint, increases in costs to reduce erosion are no different than higher input costs to compensate for erosion.

Similarly, it is the cost of compensating for reduced soil quality resulting from degradation by compaction, acidification, salinization, loss of biological activity, and erosion that is most important when assessing the effects of soil degradation on soil productivity.

Estimating the effect of soil degradation from erosion on the costs of production has proved difficult. Larson and colleagues suggested that soil degradation results in both replaceable and irreplaceable losses in soil productivity. A replaceable loss, for example, may be nutrients lost in eroded soil; an irreplaceable loss may be the loss in water-holding capacity resulting from decreased soil depth.

Similarly, Walker and Young and Young distinguished between reparable and residual loss of yields resulting from soil erosion. Reparable yield losses were those that could be compensated for by substitution of other inputs such as fertilizer. Residual yield losses were those that remain even after substitution of other inputs and represent the cost to the yield of losing irreplaceable elements of soil quality such as soil depth. A total assessment of the costs of erosion would have to account for the costs of both the substituted inputs and the residual yield losses.

Few data are available to estimate the effects of soil degradation from compaction, salinization, acidification, loss of biological activity, and other processes of soil degradation on production costs. Estimates of the extent or cost of compaction nationwide are not available.

Eradat Oskoui and Voorhees extrapolated data from studies on yield losses resulting from subsoil compaction in Minnesota. In years with high levels of water stress, when root growth is limited because of too much or too little water, yield losses would be higher.

The U.

Soil Types

Learn more. There is a variety of soils across Queensland. These soils are the cracking clay soils of the Darling Downs and Central Highlands. A large belt of grey and brown Vertosols also run from the New South Wales border to Charters Towers—corresponding with Brigalow forests. This soil type is usually associated with previous volcanic activity and is mainly located along the Great Dividing Range. Large areas of these soils occur around Kingaroy and Atherton where they are used for intensive crop production. Dermosols are red, brown, yellow, grey or black and have loam to clay textures.

Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. S oil, water, air, and plants are vital natural resources that help to produce food and fiber for humans. They also maintain the ecosystems on which all life on Earth ultimately depends. Soil serves as a medium for plant growth; a sink for heat, water, and chemicals; a filter for water; and a biological medium for the breakdown of wastes. Soil interacts intimately with water, air, and plants and acts as a damper to fluctuations in the environment. Soil mediates many of the ecological processes that control water and air quality and that promote plant growth.

Common soil types

This section gives you loads of activity sheets to download and copy. They will help you learn more about soil and its properties hopefully whilst having fun! Most of the sheets also have a teachers page attached as well as the student sheet. The subjects covered here are directly related to the rest of the Soil-Net website. Where possible, sections have indicative Key Stage indicators.

What is Soil?

Home Explore the BBC. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving. Explore the BBC.

Soils are complex mixtures of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and countless organisms that are the decaying remains of once-living things. So then, what is dirt? Dirt is what gets on our clothes or under our fingernails. It is soil that is out of place in our world — whether tracked inside by shoes or on our clothes.

Soil can be categorised into sand, clay, silt, peat, chalk and loam types of soil based on the dominating size of the particles within a soil. Sandy Soil is light, warm, dry and tend to be acidic and low in nutrients. Sandy soils are often known as light soils due to their high proportion of sand and little clay clay weighs more than sand. These soils have quick water drainage and are easy to work with.

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4 Response
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