Substrates – Soil – Water, Air, Plant and Nutrition

–          Definition – Unconsolidated material on the earth’s surface that supports or is capable of supporting plants out-of-doors. Material in the top layer of the surface of the earth in which plants can grow (especially with reference to its quality or use); the land had never been plowed; good agricultural soil. The part of the earth’s surface consisting of humus (the dark organic material in soils, produced by the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter and essential to the fertility of the earth.) and disintegrated rock. The top layer of the Earth’s crust that consists of sufficient minerals and organic material to be richly inhabited by organisms in general. Many factors in the composition of soil, such as its pH, will determine what sort of organisms will be most suited. – 1. the portion of the earth’s surface consisting of disintegrated rock and humus. 2. a particular kind of earth: sandy soil. 3. the ground as producing vegetation or as cultivated for its crops: fertile soil. 4. a country, land, or region: an act committed on American soil. 5. the ground or earth: tilling the soil.

–          Soil Classification

Wiki – The World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) is the international standard taxonomic soil classification system endorsed by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS). It was developed by an international collaboration coordinated by the International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC) and sponsored by the IUSS and the FAO via its Land & Water Development division. It replaces the previous FAO soil classification.

Identification key to the 32 reference soil groups:

1. Soils with thick organic layers: Histosols (HS)
2. Soils with strong human influence
Soils with long and intensive agricultural use: Anthrosols (AT)
Soils containing many artefacts: Technosols (TC)
3. Soils with limited rooting due to shallow permafrost or stoniness
Ice-affected soils: Cryosols (CR)
Shallow or extremely gravelly soils: Leptosols (LP)
4. Soils influenced by water
Alternating wet-dry conditions, rich in swelling clays: Vertisols (VR)
Floodplains, tidal marshes: Fluvisols (FL)
Alkaline soils: Solonetz (SN)
Salt enrichment upon evaporation: Solonchaks (SC)
Groundwater affected soils: Gleysols (GL)
5. Soils set by Fe/Al chemistry
Allophanes or Al-humus complexes: Andosols (AN)
Cheluviation and chilluviation: Podzols (PZ)
Accumulation of Fe under hydromorphic conditions: Plinthosols (PT)
Low-activity clay, P fixation, strongly structured: Nitisols (NT)
Dominance of kaolinite and sesquioxides: Ferralsols (FR)
6. Soils with stagnating water
Abrupt textural discontinuity: Planosols (PL)
Structural or moderate textural discontinuity: Stagnosols (ST)
7. Accumulation of organic matter, high base status
Typically mollic: Chernozems (CH)
Transition to drier climate: Kastanozems (KS)
Transition to more humid climate: Phaeozems (PH)
8. Accumulation of less soluble salts or non-saline substances
Gypsum: Gypsisols (GY)
Silica: Durisols (DU)
Calcium carbonate: Calcisols (CL)
9. Soils with a clay-enriched subsoil
Albeluvic tonguing: Albeluvisols (AB)
Low base status, high-activity clay: Alisols (AL)
Low base status, low-activity clay: Acrisols (AC)
High base status, high-activity clay: Luvisols (LV)
High base status, low-activity clay: Lixisols (LX)
10. Relatively young soils or soils with little or no profile development
With an acidic dark topsoil: Umbrisols (UM)
Sandy soils: Arenosols (AR)
Moderately developed soils: Cambisols (CM)
Soils with no significant profile development: Regosols (RG)

–          Soil forming factors

soil forming factors

  1. Parent Material
  2. Climate
  3. Biotic Community
  4. Topography
  5. Time
  6. Human Intervention

parent materialbiotic community in soil formation

–          Soil – Air Exchange

soil air exchange

–          Soil –Water Statics

Moisture Characteristic Curve

soil water retention

–          Soil – Water Cycle

soil water cycle

–          Water – Plant Steam

water plant stream

–          Water- Soil – Plant

The cycle of water in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum

soil water plant atmosphere

–          Soil – pH scale

ph scale soil

–          Soil – flows of nutrients

The occurrence and flows of mineral nutrients

soil flows of nutrients

–          Soil – Macroflora (higher plants, including crop plants, the root system normally proliferate throughout the upper horizons of the soil profile)

Function of plants in the soil

soil macroflora

–          Soil – Microflora (microscopic plants such as algae and cyanobacteria)

Microflora and microorganisums in the soil

soil microflora


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