Topic 3

The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

The Soil System

Soil Song

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Soil is a complex mixture of
eroded rock, mineral
nutrients, decaying organic
matter, water, air and
billions of living organisms

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

formation is a slow proc
1.Weathering of rock
(mechanical).
2.Deposition of
sediments by erosion
(mechanical).
3.Decomposition of
organic matter in dead

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

l systems integrates the biotic and abiot

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

The Soil
System and
Food
Production
Mature soils are arranged in a
series of zones called SOIL
HORIZONS:

“O” HORIZON = freshly fallen and
partially decomposed leaves,
twigs, animal waste. You can
find fungi and other organic
materials.
“A” HORIZON = porous mixture of
partially decomposed organic
matter (humus) as well as
bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and
other decomposer organisms
interacting in complex ways.
Inorganic

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

B Horizon (subsoil) contain most
of the soil’s inorganic
matter, mostly brokendownrock consisting of
varying mixtures of sand,
silt, clay, and gravel..
C Horizon (parent material) is made up
of partially broken up bedrock

R Horizon (hard bedrock) made up of
parent material

Topic 3

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

The Soil
System and
Food
Production

These top two layers are most fertile, have
the highest concentration of organic
matter, and contain large amounts of living
organisms. Rove beetle
Pseudoscorpion
Flatworm

Adult
fly
Millipede

Sowbug

Ant

Centipede
Mite

Roundworms
Fly
larvae Protozoa

Beetle

Bacteria
Slug
Snail

Mite
Earthworm

Ground
beetle
Mite

Springtail

Fungi
Actinomycetes

Organic debris

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production
Pathway
of plant
nutrients
in soil.

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Nitrogen fixing
by lightning
Organic fertilizers,
animal manure,
Commercial
inorganic green manure, compost
fertilizer

Crop
plant

10-6-4
N-P-K

Dead
organic matter
Application
to land

Nitrogen fixing

Decomposition
Absorption of nutrients
by roots

Supply of
available plant
nutrients in soil

Weathering
of rock
Nitrogen fixing

Nutrient removal
with harvest

Nutrient loss
by bacterial
processes
such as
conversion
of nitrates to
nitrogen gas

Nutrient loss

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Soil Content

Clay (very fine particles) <0.002mm
Silt (fine particles) 0.002-0.05mm
Sand (medium-size particles) 0.05-2.0mm
Gravel (coarse to very coarse particles) >2.0mm
Soil Texture is determined by the relative amounts of
the different types and sizes of mineral particles.
Loam is soil composed of sand, silt, and clay in
relatively even concentration (about 40-40-20%
concentration respectively). Loam soils generally
contain more nutrients and humus than sandy soils,
have better infiltration and drainage than silty soils, and

Topic 3
The Soil
System
and Food
Production

Students will be able to:
Soil
-to outline how soil systems
integrate aspects of living
systems.
-compare the structure and
properties of sand, clay and loam
soils including their relevance to
primary productivity.

Texture Triangle
100%clay
0

80

40

Increasing
percentage sil

silty
clay

san
dy
clay

40

60
silty clay
loam

clay
loam

sandy clay
loam
20

loam

sandy
loam
0

20

60

Increasing
percentage clay

http://www.yout
ube.com/watch?v
=knrmCbctGEA

clay

silty
loam

loamy
sand sand

100%sand

80

80

silt
60

40

20

Increasing percentage sand

100%silt

What did the soil say to the farmer….

leave me aloam

Topic 3
The Soil System and
Food Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems
.
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam
soils including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Soil texture helps determine SOIL
POROSITY, a measure of the volume of
pores or spaces per volume of soil and
the average space between those
spaces.
INFILTRATION is the downward
movement of water through soils.
As the water seeps down, it dissolves
various soil components in upper layers
and carries them down to lower layers in

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

SOIL PERMEABILITY is the rate at which water and
air move from upper to lower soil layers.
Water

High permeability

Water

Low

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Properties of Soils with Different Textures
Texture

Nutrient
Capacity

Infiltration

WaterHolding
Capacity

Aeration

Workability

Clay

Good

Poor

Good

Poor

Poor

Silt

Medium

Medium

Medium

Medium

Medium

Sand

Poor

Good

Poor

Good

Good

Loam

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Soil erosion is the movement of soil
components, especially surface litter
and topsoil.
• The two main agents of erosion are
wind and flowing water.
• Loss of plant cover by farming,
logging, construction, overgrazing by
livestock, off-road vehicles,
deliberate burning of vegetation and
other activities leave soil vulnerable
to erosion.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Two major harmful effects of soil erosion:
1. Loss of soil fertility and its ability to
hold water
2. Runoff of sediment that pollutes water,
kills fish and shellfish, and clog
irrigation ditches, boat channels,
reservoirs, and lakes.

serious
some
concern
concern
Stable areas

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Desertification is the
enlargement of deserts
through human activities.

Causes

Consequences

Overgrazing

Worsening drought

Deforestation

Famine

Surface mining

Economic losses

Erosion

Lower living
standards

Salinization
Soil compaction

Environmental
refugees

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

s of soil increases the need for excessive irriga
SALINATION

WATERLOGGING

1. Irrigation water
contains small
amounts of dissolved
salts.

• Precipitation and
irrigation water
percolate
downward.

2. Evaporation and
transpiration leave
salts behind.

• Water table
rises.

• Causes roots to
3. Salt builds up in soil.
drown.
Both result in stunted plant growth, lower crop yields, dead
and ruined land.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Transpiration
Evaporation
Evaporation

Salinination 
NaCl
Na
Cl

NaCl

NaCl

Evaporation

NaCl

NaCl

NaCl

Waterlogging

Less permeable
clay layer

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Soil Conservation involves
reducing soil erosion and
restoring soil fertility.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQQcnId3Z7A

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Advantages and disadvantages of using
Conservation Tillage.
Advantages
Reduces erosion
Saves fuel
Cuts costs
Holds more soil water
Reduces soil compaction
Allows several crops
per season
Does not reduce crop
yields

Disadvantages
Can increase herbicide
use for some crops
Leaves stalks that can
harbor crop pests and
fungal diseases and
increase pesticide use
Requires investment
in expensive equipment

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Contour planting and strip cropping: each row
acts as a small dam to help hold soil and slow
water runoff.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Contour planting and strip cropping: each row
acts as a small dam to help hold soil and slow
water runoff.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Alley cropping or agroforestry: several crops are planted
together in strips or alleys between trees and shrubs that
can provide fruit or fuel-wood, shade, help retain and
slowly release soil moisture, and fodder
for livestock http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8Kwb5yInPM
.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Alley cropping or agroforestry: several crops are planted
together in strips or alleys between trees and shrubs that
can provide fruit or fuel-wood, shade, help retain and
slowly release soil moisture, and fodder
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8Kwb5yInPMfor livestock

.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Windbreaks or shelterbelts of trees reduce wind erosion,
help retain soil, supply wood for fuel, and provide habitats
for birds, pest-eating and pollinating insects, and other
animals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r81jW3Zv9-Q

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Windbreaks or shelterbelts of trees reduce wind erosion,
help retain soil, supply wood for fuel, and provide habitats
for birds, pest-eating and pollinating insects, and other
animals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r81jW3Zv9-Q

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Terracing retains
water for crops at
each level and
reduces soil erosion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW2rC
by controlling runoff.
wyF75Q

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a
series of dissimilar/different types of crops in
the same area in sequential seasons.
Reduces pests (insects) and restores soil
fertility.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to outline how soil systems integrate aspects of living systems .
-compare the structure and properties of sand, clay and loam soils
including their relevance to primary productivity.

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a
series of dissimilar/different types of crops in
the same area in sequential seasons.
Reduces pests (insects) and restores soil
fertility.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Food Resources

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Human food
systems:
1. Croplands
2. Rangelands
3. Oceanic
fisheries

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

4 Types of cropland
(agriculture) systems:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP--_lg7P
jQ

•Uses large amounts
of fossil fuels
Land
energy, water,
Labor
commercial fertilizer,
and pesticides to
Capital
produce huge
quantities of single
Fossil fuel
crops or livestock
energy
animals for sale.
Industrialized agriculture• 25% of croplands in
in developed countries

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Land
Labor
Capital
Fossil fuel energy

http://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=YAUqxhg
bp34
http://www.youtube
.com/watch?v=NVRJE
4Vlds0

Intensive traditional agriculture
in developing countries

•Uses large amounts of human input and
draft labor, water, and fertilizer, to produce
enough food to feed their families and sell
for income.
• In North America 2.4% of labor force is used

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Land

Labor
Capital

http://www.youtube.c
Shifting cultivation in tropical
om/watch?v=IufJSmlk4
z8
forests in developing countries

•Growing cash crops on large monoculture
plantations, mostly for sale.
•Farmers burn an area because it is too difficult to
clear by hand and they do not have machines.
•The bacteria and insects are killed so the soil
cannot replenish itself and is left without root
structure so it erodes very easily.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Land

Labor
Capital

http://www.youtube.c
Shifting cultivation in tropical
om/watch?v=IufJSmlk4
forests in developing countries
z8

•Growing cash crops on large monoculture
plantations, mostly for sale.
• A large amount of livestock production is
industrialized. Mostly pigs and chicken are
raised in densely populated pens and cages
and are fed mostly grain from croplands.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Land

Labor
Capital

http://www.youtube.com/wa
Nomadic
tch?v=UWJdNXpv_Go

herding in
developing countries

• Uses mostly human labor and draft animals
to produce only enough crops or livestock for
a farm family’s survival.
• Practiced by 2.7 billion people (44% of the
world’s population).
•Provide 20% of the world’s food supply.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Industrialized agriculture Plantation agriculture Intensive traditional agriculture
Shifting cultivation

Nomadic herding

No agriculture

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Rangelands

• About 40% of the earth’s ice-free
land.
• This land provides forage or
vegetation for grazing and
browsing animals.
• It is not formally farmed but
harvested from what grows

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Nomadic herding

Stock raising on ranges

Topic 3

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

The Soil
System and
Food
Production
Kilocalories of fossil fuel input per kilocalorie of protein output
Food Type
Feed lot beef

20-78

Pigs

35

Broiler chicken

22

Rangeland Beef

10

Sheep

10

Vegetables

2-4

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Fisheries

• The world’s third major foodproducing system.
• 55% of the annual commercial catch
comes from the ocean.
• Harvesting methods:
]
]
]
]

Trawler fishing
Purse-seine
Longlineing
Drift-net

Fish Farms

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Trawler
fishing

Spotter airplane

Fish farming
in cage

Purse-seine
fishing

trawl flap
trawl
lines

sonar

fish school

trawl
bag

Drift-net fishing
Long line fishing

Fish caught
by gills

float buoy

lines with
hooks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JGC0D1aW_w

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

• The rest of the annual catch
comes from using
] Aquaculture (33%)
] Inland freshwater fishing from
lakes, rivers and reservoirs
(12%)

• About
1/3
of the catch
is
Krill
Hake
Sardine Anchovy
Oyster
used as animal
feed,
Shrimp fish
Herring
meal
andMackerel
oils.
Haddock
Lobster

Clam

Octopus
Squid

Topic 3

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

The Soil
System and
Food
Production
Kilocalories
of fossil fuel input per kilocalorie of protein output
Seafood type

Marine Fisheries
Shrimp

3-98
18-52

Salmon
20

Cod
Ocean Aquaculture
Salmon cage
culture

50

Salmon ranching
Seaweed

7-12
1

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Comparing Food Production

Terrestrial
• Food is
harvested from
low trophic
levels.
• More efficient
fixing of solar

Aquatic
• Food is harvested
from higher trophic
levels mostly
because of human
taste.
• Energy conversions
are more efficient
along the food
chain.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Major environmental
effects of food
production

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Biodiversity Loss

Soil

Loss and degradation of habitat from
clearing grasslands and forests and
draining wetland

Erosion

Fish kills from pesticide runoff

Salinization

Killing of wild predators to protect
livestock

Waterlogging

Loss of genetic diversity from
replacing thousands of wild crop
strains with a few monoculture strains

Loss of fertility

Desertification

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Air Pollution

Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil
Fuel issue

Other air pollutants from fossil fuel use

Pollution from pesticide sprays

Water
Aquifer depletion

Surface and groundwater
pollution from pesticides
and fertilizers

Increased runoff and
flooding from land cleared
Overfertilization of lakes
to grow crops
and slow-moving rivers
Sediment pollution from from runoff of nitrates and
phosphates from
erosion
fertilizers, livestock
wastes, and food
Fish kills from pesticide
processing wastes
runoff

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Human Health
Nitrates in drinking water
Pesticide residues in drinking water,
food, and air
Contamination of drinking and
swimming water with disease organisms
from livestock wastes
Bacterial contamination of meat

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Increasing
Crop
Production

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Try new foods

• Increase cultivation of less
widely known plants to
supplement or replace staple
foods.
• Insects – microlivestock –
could be an important
potential source of protein.

Genetic
engineering

Projected
Advantages
Need less fertilizer
Need less water
More resistant to
insects, plant
disease, frost, and
drought
Faster growth

http://www.youtube.com
/watch?
v=1H9WZGKQeYg

Can grow in slightly
salty soils
Less spoilage
Better flavor
Less use of conventional pesticides
Tolerate higher
levels of herbicide
use

Projected
Disadvantages
Irreversible and
unpredictable
genetic and ecological effects
Harmful toxins in
food from possible
plant cell mutations
New allergens
in food
Lower nutrition
Increased evolution
of pesticideresistant insects
and plant diseases
Creation of herbicideresistant weeds
Harm beneficial
insects
Lower genetic
diversity

Topic 3
The Soil
System and
Food
Production

Students will be able to:
-to discuss the links that exist between social systems and food
production systems.

Irrigate &
Cultivate
More
Land

In use
Cultivated Grazed
Tropical
forest
11%
10%
Arid land
8%
6%
14%

Forests,
arid
lands

51%

Ice, snow, deserts
mountains

Not usable