SSS
Soil System Sciences

Soil science

The long, long travel from rock to soil (I)

 

There is hardly a subject in all nature, of which the majority of people has so unclear terms and which has hitherto been so completely misunderstood, as the soil on which they walk.

F.A. Fallou

Soil is often considered as the skin of the Earth and is located at the interface between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Air, water, rock and living beings interact to form soil, which, in turn, is the physical and nutritional support for living organisms in emerged areas. Currently, we define soil is an open system that temporarily stores the necessary resources for living organisms. The availability of these resources (water, energy, mineral nutrients, etc.) depends on the intensity and speed of exchange processes between soil and the rest of compartments of ecological systems.

Soil in the interface, by Antonio Jordán. Distributed by Imaggeo.


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Soil science and policy challenges

Sarah Connors, EGU Science Policy Fellow
Antonio Jordán, University of Seville

 

Discussions during the 5th International Conference of Fire Effects on Soil Properties in the O’Brien Centre for Science, Dublin, Ireland (2015), by Antonio Jordán. Distributed by Imaggeo.

Soil is often considered as the skin of the Earth and is located at the interface between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Soil is the physical and nutritional support for living organisms in emerged areas. [Read More]

Soil facts

As part of the activities of the International Year of Soils, FAO has published the following Soil Facts. Contribute with your comments!

The current rate of soil degradation threatens the capacity to meet needs of future generations.

The current rate of soil degradation threatens the capacity to meet needs of future generations.

 

We need healthy soils to achieve our food security and nutrition goals.

We need healthy soils to achieve our food security and nutrition goals.

 

Our soils are precious. Did you know it can take up to 1,000 years to form 1 cm of top soil?

Our soils are precious. Did you know it can take up to 1,000 years to form 1 cm of top soil?

 

Multiple roles of soils often go unnoticed.

Multiple roles of soils often go unnoticed.

 

Did you know that a tablespoon of soil has more micro-organisms than the whole human population on Earth?

Did you know that a tablespoon of soil has more micro-organisms than the whole human population on Earth?

 

Soils are key in the global carbon cycle. They help us to mitigate and adapt to the climate change.

Soils are key in the global carbon cycle. They help us to mitigate and adapt to the climate change.

Turning unproductive soil into profits

Preeti Roychand

La Trobe University
AgriBio Centre for AgriBioscience
Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Sandy soils in Western Australia are bad soils for growing plants due to their poor nutrients and water holding capacity (see an example in Figure 1). In general, these soils are water repellent, which leads to land degradation by increasing soil erosion risk and run-off rates. Nevertheless, these soils may be improved by clay addition, which leads to increase soil organic carbon content (Franzluebbers et al. 1996). Several ways have been used to increase soil organic carbon content in soils: i) no-tillage systems, ii) addition of bio char , iii) organic amendments or fertilizer addition and iv) switch to perennial plants. But there is another potential method for enhancing soil organic carbon storage in soils which has received little attention: mixing of isolated clay with sandy soils.

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