The Soil Resource (SOIL2004)


This unit will familiarise students with the description and mapping of soil types in the Australian landscape, with common analytical methods for soil and with the various forms of degradation that may alter the quality and function of soil. It is an applied soil science unit that builds on the fundamental soil science concepts learned in the SOIL2003 unit. The first practical component of the unit, a five-day soil survey, will give students experience in soil description and classification in the field, and soil samples collected during this survey will be subsequently analysed for a variety of attributes by the students in laboratory practicals. In the lecture series, topics including soil type distribution, soil quality, soil function, soil fertility and soil degradation will be discussed and linked to practical sessions. By the end of this unit, students will be able to construct maps of soil properties and soil type distribution, describe primary soil functions, soil attributes and types of soil degradation in an agricultural context, and be able to recognize and communicate the ability of a soil profile to sustain plant growth. Students will gain research and inquiry skills by collecting, analysing and interpreting soil survey data, and will gain communication skills by having to prepare and present a poster.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


(2x1 hr lec, 1x2 hr pracs)/wk, 25 hr (5 days) fieldtrip in the week immediately preceding the start of Semester 2 (Week O)


Fieldtrip participation (5%), soil survey mapping report (30%), laboratory report and poster presentation (25%), three group tutorials (20%), viva voce exam (20%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.