Chapter 8 . Soil: Foundation for Land Ecosystems. 8.1. Soil and plants. Soil vs. Dirt. Soil is much more than just “dirt”. Top Soil Formation. Productive topsoil involves dynamic interactions among the organisms, detritus, and mineral particles of the soil. Soil Characteristics - Texture.
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Soil: Foundation for Land Ecosystems
Productive topsoil involves dynamic interactions among the organisms, detritus, and mineral particles of the soil
Chemical formulations of required nutrients, with out any organic matter included
Much more prone to leaching than organic fertilizers
Water lost from the plant by transpiration must be replaced from a reservoir of water held in the soil. In addition to the amount and frequency of precipitation, the size of this reservoir depends on the soil’s ability to allow water to infiltrate, to hold water, and to minimize direct evaporation
On the left is a humus-poor sample of loam. It is relatively uniform, dense “clod”. On right is a sample of the same loam, but rich in humus. Note that is has a very loose structure, composed of numerous aggregates of various sizes
Topsoil is the result of a balance between detritus additions and humus-forming processes, and their breakdown and loss. If additions of detritus are insufficient, the soil will gradually deteriorate
Cultivation up and down a slope encourages water to run down furrows and may lead to severe erosion. This problem is reduced by plowing along the contours at a right angle to the slope
Belts of trees around farm fields that break the wind and protect soil