Soils:. A Natural Capital or Natural Resource!. Some call it dirt…..But it is Soil !!!. Soil is made of loose, weathered rock and organic material. The rock material in soil contains three noticeable parts: sand, clay, and silt. Soil consists of: 45% mineral 25% water 25% air and
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A Natural Capital or
Soil is made of loose, weathered rock and organic material.
The rock material in soil contains three noticeable parts: sand, clay, and silt.
Soil consists of:
5% organic matter.
This is just an average!
the way various
soil particles clump
2/3 of intra-soil spaces contain air after excess water has drained.
Soil that has the feel of clay is that soils
There are thousands of different soils throughout the world.
Five important factors influence the specific soil that develops.
This refers to the minerals present during the formation of the soil.
Materials from volcanoes, sediment transported by wind, water, or glaciers are some examples.
Think about the soils in our area. Where do you think our “parent material” came from?
Our parent material is mainly Marine sediment (ocean in origin), or produced by steam-river action. Also from the Appalachians.
It may be thousands of feet deep!
The climate of a particular region can have a major influence on the rate of soil formation.
Weathering processes like the cycles of freezing and thawing, along with wetting and drying vary with each region.
Enriched by organic material from plants & animals with microbes and macrobes
As they die, organic matter incorporates with weathered parent material and becomes part of the soil.
Can you think of some organisms that might help mix and enrich the soil?
The actions of moles, earthworms, bacteria, fungi, and round worms mix and enrich the soil.
The slope or hilliness of a region can have a major influence on the moisture and erosion of soils.
In many regions, moist, poorly drained soils are located in low areas.
Drier, well drained soils are often found in sloping hillsides. Erosion is often a problem here and can lead to lose of topsoil.
Each color change represents a 50 meter increase.
It takes hundreds of years to form one inch of soil from parent material.
Only the top few centimeters are productive in the sense of being able to sustain plant growth.
This is why soil conservation is so important!
Our soil is a Natural Capital
In a cross-section of soil, various zones are formed.
It consists of leaf litter and other organic material lying on the surface of the soil.
This layer is usually loose and crumbly with varying amounts of decayed organic matter.
This is generally the most productive layer of the soil.
Conservation efforts are focused here!
Subsoils are usually lighter in color, dense and low in organic matter.
This layer of transition is almost completely void of organic mater and is made up of partially weathered parent material.
Below the C horizon the unweathered bedrock will be found.
What would happen to land based life as we know it, if there was no soil layer?
Determines soil pore space
Affects soil workability
Determines soil drainage
Influences nutrient holding capacity (CEC)
Use it for getting a broad idea of soil conditions in the county
Soil acts as a natural filter to screen out many substances that mix with the water.
But water will transport some contaminants into the groundwater.
The amount of groundwater recharge, storage, discharge, as well as the extent of groundwater contamination, all depend on the soil properties:
The soil acts as a natural filter. In this context filtering means more than capturing solid particles. Filtering also means retaining chemicals or dissolved substances on the soil particle surface, transforming chemicals through microbial biological processing, and retarding movement of substances.
The soil's ability to lessen the amount of or reduce the severity of groundwater contamination is called soil attenuation. "During attenuation, the soil holds essential plant nutrients for uptake by agronomic crops, immobilizes metals that might be contained in municipal sewage sludge, or removes bacteria contained in animal or human wastes. 18"