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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Intermediate

Unit aim

Examines the main soil forming processes and the role of both organic matter and clay minerals in soil processes and properties is explored. Field soil assessment and classification skills are developed and methods for the examination of soil invertebrates introduced. The main concepts and methods used to assess soil physical and chemical properties are introduced, as is the use of soil moisture characteristics for the prediction of water movement. The behaviour of soil nutrients is examined.

Unit content

The unit will cover the following topics (not necessarily in the order presented) which will be dealt with in the topic notes, readings, laboratory notes and in the field:

  • soil and its constituents
  • soil physical properties: texture, structure
  • soil water
  • soil organic matter
  • soil and clay mineralogy
  • soil and plant nutrition: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and trace elements
  • soil formation
  • soil classification
  • soil biology.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: , GA2: , GA3: , GA4: , GA5: , GA6: , GA7:
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 describe the main soil forming processes
2 describe the role of organic matter and clay minerals in soil processes and properties
3 discuss the role of the major soil nutrients in plant nutrition and outline the main plant nutrient cycles
4 assess soil structure, texture and consistence in the field sufficient to enable soil classification
5 demonstrate soil surveying technique
6 discuss the use of soil classification systems in general and understand the features of a range of soil classification systems as well as classify soils according to two major Australian soil classification systems
7 describe some important soil chemical and physical processes and properties.

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. describe the main soil forming processes
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  2. describe the role of organic matter and clay minerals in soil processes and properties
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  3. discuss the role of the major soil nutrients in plant nutrition and outline the main plant nutrient cycles
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  4. assess soil structure, texture and consistence in the field sufficient to enable soil classification
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  5. demonstrate soil surveying technique
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
  6. discuss the use of soil classification systems in general and understand the features of a range of soil classification systems as well as classify soils according to two major Australian soil classification systems
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:
  7. describe some important soil chemical and physical processes and properties.
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
    • GA6:

Prescribed texts

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.