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Soil Genesis and Development, Scenario 3 - Soils and Salts

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This case study addresses how soil formed in different parts of the landscape influences productivy in the broad sense, of both economic and non-economic flora and fauna.

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The Learning Objectives

Dennis McCallister
Professor, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

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1. Identify the factors of soil formation and distinguish between the active and passive factors.
2. Describe how soil forming factors may interact to produce a soil seen in different places in the landscape.
3. Define the basic chemical and physical processes of soil formation.
4. Identify the main soil horizons, and describe the basic differences between each.
5. Given information on geographic location, climate, biota, and parent material, predict the soil Order that exists at the site.
6. Identify and describe the roles of soil in the global ecosystem.
7. Describe and locate human activities that cause soil degradation and/or erosion.


Lesson map of application scenario on Agroecosystems. Highlighted in red on the map are concepts addressed in this application lesson. Image courtesy of UNL, 2006

Click to view a video tutorial on how to use the application lessons properly.


This lesson was developed by Martha Mamo, Timothy Kettler, and Dennis McCallister at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Jim Ippolito at Colorado State University; Ron Reuter at Oregon State University; Christoph Geiss at Trinity College-Connecticut; and William Zanner at the University of Minnesota. Development of this lesson was supported by the National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Program (NSF-CCLI), Award Number DUE-0042603. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of NSF.


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