The Soil Resource (SOIL2004)


This unit will familiarize 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 which 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, analyzing and interpreting soil survey data, and will gain communication skills by having to prepare and present a poster.

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(2x1 hr lec, 1x2hr pracs)/wk, 24 hr (5 days) field work out of semester time


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


Brady NC & Weil RR. (2002) The Nature and Properties of Soils. 13th ed. (or any later edition) Prentice Hall, New Jersey. Isbell RF McDonald WS & Ashton LJ. (1997) Concepts and Rationale of the Australian Soil Classification. Australian Collaborative Land

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