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Simple Procedure of Soil Description

© Alexsander S. Bogolyubov, Michael. V. Kravchenko, Sergey V. Baslerov, Russia, 2001

© Michael J. Brody, USA, 2003

Simple procedure of soil descriptionThis manual contains a procedure for soil profile construction and its description according to morphological features. The technique of soil composition description is based on soil horizons, soil and its horizon thickness, coloring, soil moisture, mechanical composition, structure and texture, new formations and inclusions.

This field study has instructional video featuring real students conducting the ecological field techniques in nature. Each video illustrates the primary instructional outcomes and the major steps in accomplishing the task including reporting the results.

Introduction

When conducting complex field studies with students, introduction to the soils of the studied area is an integral part of environmental research as well as environmental education. Correctly organized soil studies will enable young researchers to understand the origin and evolution (developmental process) of ecosystems within the area, and even to assess developmental perspectives of its vegetation, water regime and fauna.

In field conditions, soils are described and identified according to their appearance, i.e. morphological features. The soil can be identified according to its morphological features exactly the same way as we identify minerals, plants or animals. That is why it is especially important to know how to describe soil type, recording its morphological features in the field.

Based on morphological features, it is possible to judge the direction and the extent of the soil-forming process and, more specifically, to classify soil types. However, due to the difficulties of soil classification and, moreover, differences in systems of soil classification in different countries, this manual does not cover identification (determination) of soil types.

The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the soils of their region by having them identify soil types according to their morphological features. One of the most important and meaningful parts of this study is not simply the description of different soil horizons, but an attempt to reveal functional parts in the described soil.

In this manual we present a general diagram of soil division into functional zones and corresponding typology of soil horizons. Based on the descriptions according to a unified procedure presented in the manual, we will be able to identify, classify and compare soils that are described anywhere on earth.

Procedure of soil profile embedding

It is widely accepted in soil science to dig special pits called soil profiles (test soil pits) in order to describe soil types, study their morphological features, define boundaries between different soil types and collect samples for analyses. Any soil study starts not with the digging of a pit but with selection of pit location.

Selection of location of soil profile

In order to choose the right place for the soil profile, the area should be thoroughly examined in relation to relief and vegetation. If the relief is flat, the pit is excavated in a central, most representative part. A slope is excavated in its top, middle and bottom parts. When studying a river valley, pits should be dug in the floodplain (alluvial flat), terraces and in the watersheds.

When conducting a complex environmental research of an area, soil profiles should be embedded, one in each main type of plant associations. If it is a lesson, the profile should be embedded in one, most typical plant association of the region.

The profile should be dug in the most representative place of the studied territory. They should not be embedded near roads or ditches, or any location untypical for...


It is now possible to purchase the full version of this manual as a part of the complete set of 40 seasonal Ecological Field Study Materials (see the list below) in an attractive 4 compact disk set.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk
At this time we have a free and interesting demonstration disk that explains our ecological field studies approach. The demo disk has short excerpts from all the seasonal field study videos as well as sample text from all the teacher manuals. The disk has an entertaining automatic walk through which describes the field study approach and explains how field studies meet education standards. Simply click here to email us and request a free demo disk.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set
It is now possible to purchase the complete set of 40 seasonal Ecological Field Study Materials in an attractive 4 compact disk set. These compact disks are compatible with Mac and PC computers. The teacher background information and manuals can be printed out for easy reference. The videos are suitable for individual student or whole class instruction. To get more information and to purchase the complete 4CD set click here.

 

Other Ecological Field Studies Instructive Manuals:

Autumn Season

  1. Orienteering in the Forest
  2. Procedure of the Geological Exposure Description
  3. Plotting a Profile of a River Valley Slope
  4. Simple Procedure of Soil Description
  5. Assessment of the Vital State of a Forest Based on Pine-tree Analysis
  6. Study of Species Composition and Number of Fungi
  7. Study of Species Composition and Census of Birds Using the Line Transect-counting Method
  8. Integrated Study Based on Landscape Profile
  9. Complex Environmental Assessment of Human Impact on an Area
  10. Assessment of Air Pollution by Lichen Indication Method

Winter Season

  1. Making a Campfire
  2. Simple “Eye” Survey of the Field Study Site
  3. Study of Growth Dynamics of Trees Based on Annual Rings
  4. Mapping Forest Vegetation
  5. Green Plants Under Snow
  6. Methods of Observation of a Chickadee Flock's Territorial Behavior
  7. Procedure of Winter Mammals Route Census by Footprints
  8. Study of Mammal Ecology According to Their Tracks
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties of Natural Waters
  10. Study of Snow Cover Profile

Spring Season

  1. Let's Help Birds!
  2. Study of the Ecology of Early Flowering Plants
  3. Phenology of Plant Florescence
  4. Assessment of the Vital State of Coniferous Underbrush
  5. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part I: Forest Litter, Wood)
  6. Studies of Species Composition and Abundance of Amphibians
  7. Studying Minerals and Rocks in Your Area
  8. Studies of the Day Activity of Singing Birds
  9. Studies of Bird Populations Size by Different Methods
  10. Study of Fauna of Spring Temporary Water Bodies

Summer Season

  1. Making a Herbarium
  2. The Study of Plants in Your Local Environment
  3. Study of the Vertical Structure of a Forest
  4. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part 2: Grass Layer, Tree Crowns and Air)
  5. Study of Birds’ Nesting Life
  6. Complex Comparative Description of Small Rivers and Streams
  7. The Study of Water Invertebrates in a Local River and Assessment of Its Environmental State
  8. Study of Plankton
  9. Assessment of Ecological Features of Meadows on the Base of Vegetation Cover
  10. Assessment of Environmental State of the Forest Based on Leaves’ Asymmetry


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