What are Soil and its Component?

Soil, the loose material that covers the land surfaces of Earth and supports the growth of plants. In general, soil is an unconsolidated, or loose, combination of inorganic and organic material. The inorganic components of soil are principally the products of rocks, and minerals that have been gradually broken down by weather, chemical action, and other natural processes. The organic materials are composed of debris from plants and from decomposition of many tiny life forms that inhabit the soil. Soils vary widely from place to place. Many factors determine the chemical composition and physical structure of the soil at any given location. The different kinds of rocks, minerals, and other geologic materials from which the soil originally formed play a role. The kinds of plants or other vegetation that grow in the soil are also important. Topography-that is, whether the terrain is steep, flat, or some combination-is another factor. In some cases, human activity such as farming or building has caused disruption. Soils also differ in color, texture, chemical makeup, and the kinds of plants they can support. Generally, soil consists of four main constituents which are mineral matter, organic matter, air, and water. Mineral water consists of two groups which is primary minerals, resistant-coarse minerals weathered from rocks, and secondary minerals, formed in the soil by recombination of substances, usually fine-grained. Organic matter derived mostly from decaying plant matter, but also consists of decaying animal matter composed of cellulose, starch and lignin in various states of decomposition. In soil that has structure, the minerals and organic component are aggregated into discrete structural unit called Peds, which are surrounded by open spaces which is occupied by air and water. In soils that are saturated, most air is removed while in freely drained soils, water adheres to the mineral particles. The mineral portion comes primarily in situ weathering of the geological substrate. Occasionally, however, minerals are transport in, as well as blown in from eolion wind activity. Particles range in size from very small clay particles measured in microns up to sand-size particles that can be measured in millimeters. This fraction of soil is called fine earth, and usually consists of particles less than 2mm in size. It is upon this fraction that soil texture is determined. The volume of air and water in pore spaces is complementary, as one increase, the other decreases. In poorly drained soils, all pore space may be occupied by water while in freely drained soils, water lost from large cavities and larger pores is called gravitational water soil air differs from atmospheric air in that (1) it is saturated with water vapour (near 100% humidity) and (2) carbon dioxide, a lay-product of decomposition, is sometimes 5-10 times higher. More organic matter in a base-rich soil would favor soil fauna which deplete soil oxygen and increases soil carbon dioxide.

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Soil Formation
Soil formation is an ongoing process that proceeds through the combined effects of five soil-forming factors: parent material, climate, living organisms, topography, and time. Each combination of the five factors produces a unique type of soil that can be identified by its characteristic layers, called horizons. Soil formation is also known as pedogenesis ( from the Greek words pedon, for “ground” and genesis, meaning “birth” or “origin”). Parent Material The first step in pedogenesis is the formation of parent material from which the soil itself forms. Roughly 99 percent of the world’s soils derive from mineral-based parent materials that are the result of weathering, the physical disintegration and chemical decomposition of exposed bedrock. The small percentage of remaining soils derives from organic parent materials, which are the product of environments where organic matter accumulates faster than it composes. This accumulation can occur in marshes, bogs, and wetlands. Bedrock itself does not directly give rise to soil. Rather, the gradual weathering of bedrock, through physical and chemical processes, produces a layer of rock debris called regolith. Further weathering of this debris, leading to increasingly smaller and finer particles, ultimately results in the creation of soil. In some instances, the weathering of bedrock creates parent materials that remain in one place. In other cases, rock materials are transported far from their source-blown by wind, carried by moving water, and borne inside glaciers. Climate Climate directly affects soil formation. Water, ice, wind, heat and cold cause the physical weathering by loosening and breaking up rocks. Water in rock crevices expands when it freezes, causing the rocks to crack. Rocks are worn down by water and wind and ground bits by the slow movement of glaciers. Climate also determines the speed at which parent materials undergo chemical weathering, a process in which existing minerals are broken down into new mineral components. Chemical weathering is fastest in hot, moist climates and slowest in cold, dry climates. Climate also influences the developing soil by determining the types of plant growth that occur. Low rainfall or recurring drought often discourage the growth of threes but allow the growth of grass. Soils develop in cool rainy areas suited the pines and other needle-leaf trees are low in humus.

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Living Organism As the parent material accumulates, living things gradually gain a foothold in it. The arrival of living organisms marks the beginning of the formation of true soil. Mosses, lichens, and lower plant forms appear first. As they die, their remains add to the developing soil until a thin layer of humus is built up. Animals’ waste materials add nutrients that are used by plants. Higher forms of plants are eventually able to establish themselves as more and more humus accumulates. The presence of humus in the upper layers of a soil is important because humus contains large amounts of the elements needed by plants. Living organisms also contribute to the development of soils in other ways. Plants build soils by catching dust from volcanoes and deserts, and plants’ growing roots break up rocks and stir the developing soil. Animals also mix soils by tunneling in them. Topography Topography, or relief, is another important factor in soil formation. The degree of slope on which a soil forms helps to determine how much rainfall will run off the surface and how much will be retained by the soil. Relief may also affect the average temperature of a soil, depending on whether or not the slope faces the sun most of the day. Time The amount of time a soil requires to develop varies widely according to the action of the other soil-forming factors. Young soils may develop in a few days from the alluvium (sediments left by floods) or from ash from volcanic eruptions. Other soils may take hundreds of thousands of years to form. In some areas, the soils may be more than a million years old. Horizons Most soils, as they develop become arranged in a series of layers, known as horizons. These horizons, starting at the soil surface and proceeding deeper into the ground, reflect different properties and different degrees of weathering. Soil scientists have designated several main types of horizons. The surface horizon is usually referred to as the O layer; it consists of loose organic matter such as fallen leaves and other biomass. Below that is the A horizon, containing a mixture of inorganic mineral materials and organic matter. Next is the E horizon, a layer from which clay, iron, and aluminum oxides have been lost by a process known as leaching (when water carries materials in solution down from one soil level to another). Removal of materials in this manner is known as eluviations, the process that gives the E horizon its name. Below E horizon is the B horizon, in which most of the iron, clay, and other leached materials have accumulated. The influx of such materials is called illuviation. Under that layer is the C horizon, consisting of partially weather bedrock, and last, the R horizon of hard bedrock.

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Along with these primary designations, soil scientists use many subordinate names to describe the transitional areas between the main horizons, such as Bt horizon or BX2 horizon. Soil scientists refer this arrangement of layers stop another as a soil profile. Soil profiles change constantly but usually very slowly. Under normal conditions, soil at the surface is slowly eroded but is constantly replaced by new soil that is created from the parent material in the C horizon.

Why Is Soil So Important?
Soil is important for plants because it holds roots, stores nutrients, and provides support for plants. Most living things need three basic things to survive: food, water, and air. Plants get their nutrients and water from soil. Although all green plants make their food by photosynthesis, they also need to get nutrients from the soil. These nutrients dissolve in water and are taken up by the roots of the plant. The most important plant nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen helps above-ground leafy growth and gives dark green color to leaves. Phosphorus encourages plant cell division. Without phosphorus, flowers and seeds could not form. Phosphorus also helps root growth and protects the plant from disease. Like phosphorus, potassium increases the plant’s resistance to disease and encourages root growth. Potassium is needed for the production of chlorophyll.

Physical Properties of Soil
Soil texture is the determination of the percentages of sand, silt and clay:• • • Sand has large particles with little surface area. Sand has very limited chemical and physical bindings with particles in the soil. Silt is smaller than sand and larger than clay. Silts are more weathered than sand. Silt has less surface area than clay. Because of silt’s size and physical properties, they can hold water and nutrients. Clay is the smallest of the three particles sizes. It has strong affinity for water and nutrients. Clay has thousands of times more surface area than silt and millions more times the surface area of sand.

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silt and clay are arranged or grouped together to form structures. They have lower nutrient leaching potential. and cobble classes. silt is very slick and clay is very sticky. silt and clay form textural classes when mixed in differing percentages. root development and microorganism activity. By destroying structure. silt and clay should total 100. Soil structure is the way the sand. They have more temperature fluxuation between day and night. Loamy Sand – means sand is the dominating fraction. Think of a quartz prism. sand is gritty. soil gas evacuation. 5 . They are more seriated. ground and passed through a 2 mm sieve. Sand. When using textural triangle the percentages of sand. Blocklike – aggregates with horizontal axes and vertical axes are more or less equal. They have higher biological activity and organic matter. Improper soil structure management affects the physical. Typer of soil structures are: Prismlike – aggregates with horizontal axes are shorter than the vertical axes. but sand dominates. like a dinner plate or Frisbee. This affects root growth and biological activity. They also have higher nutrient leaching potential. Particles sizes greater than 2 mm fall in the gravel. They have lower organic matter. The soil structure can be altered. Sandy Loam – means silts and clays are present. soil drainage. Particles smaller than 2mm (size of a pinhead) are considered as soil. Soil consistence is the resistance of a soil to deformation or rupture by a compressing. Light soils are easier to work. Soil textural classes are derived from a textural triangle. the last word is the domination fraction. Blocklike structure is found deep in the soil horizon (profile). There are over a million combinations of percent sand. Heavy soils are harder to work. the solid phase of the soil increase at the expense of air and water. Soil texture and soil structure have strong influences on soil aggregation. water penetration. but silts and clays are present. granular. The chemical and biological phase is affected because the soil is compacted. crumb like. Like the toy building blocks or a small sugar cube. and how the soil responds to tillage under different moisture contents. pebble. This structure is found under grass stands near the surface. bind with organic matter (adhesion). This structure is found in young soils or in dry and arid regions. chemical and biological properties. shearing or pulling force. Spheroidal – aggregates that are more or less rounded. They hold more moisture and the soil temperature fluctuates less. Consistence is a measure of how soil particles bind together (cohesion). • • • Loam – means sand silt and clay fraction are all shared in this class. By feel. percent silt and percent clay. A well aggregated soil improve soil air. In naming textural classes. nutrient assimilations. Platelike – aggregates with horizontal axes longer than the vertical. They hold less moisture. This structure occurs on or near the soil surface caused by ponded water or impact from rain (crusting).A soil that tested by Western Laboratories is dried. Farmers refer to texture as (1) Light soils being coarse textured (2) Heavy soils being fine textured.

the term ecology can be described as the study of the habit of the living thing. • Black and dark brown colors indicate accumulation of organic matter usually confined to the surface horizons. Like magnets. Ecology is the study of organism relating to their natural environment. in a process known as cation exchange. including those from calcium. Various definitions have been suggested for this term such as:• • • • • Ecology is the study of relationship between organisms in their natural habitat. soil color can be attributable to organic matter or to the state of oxidation and hydration of the iron minerals present. and chroma (the strength of the color). The surfaces of certain soil particles. Therefore. Soil color is described using the Munsell color system which uses hues (red R or yellow Y). hold groupings of atoms known as ions.In most cases. Ecology is the study of the sum total of relationship between living thing and their habitat. Ecology is the study of structure and function of the natural habitat as a part of it. • Whitish soils are associated with various salts in arid and semiarid regions. a soil’s cation exchange capacity is an important measure of its fertility. and potassium. • Reddish-brown colors are associated with well-drained soils. Chemical Properties of Soil Soils also have key chemical characteristics. (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary). which means dwelling and logos which means the study of something. These ions carry a negative charge. Ecology is the study of interactions between organism and their habitat (Ernst Haekel. magnesium. value (darkness or lightness from white to black). particularly the clays. these negative ions (called anions) attract positive ions (called cations). Cations. 6 . then become attached to the soil particles. Based on this. What is Ecology? The term ecology originated from the Greek word oikos. The chemical reactions in cation exchange make it possible for calcium and the other elements to be exchanged into water-soluble forms that plants can use for food. 1969). • Gray colors are associated with the removal of iron.

from the base of the ocean to the atmosphere and extending mot more than 15 km from the surface of the earth. coniferous forest and etcetera. • Individual of one type of organism do not live in isolation but in groups called populations. temperate grassland. Each of these zones is called biome. • Existence of these function forms varies type of system such as blood circulation system. air. • Cells are then grouped together to form different tissues. that is population. • Various populations of organism interact with one another forming a community. In the biosphere. ecology is a study of biological organization levels that higher than individual organism. Each biome represents a primary life zone characterized by the presence of dominant plants form. • A community including abiotic factors and interacts with it is called ecosystem. 7 .The best understanding of the concept of ecology is based on hierarchy or organization of life in biology. Example for these kinds of zones including tropical rainforest. communities. deciduous temperate forest. • All ecosystems on earth together constitute the biosphere that encompasses all the layers. water and soil. Based on the hierarchy or organization of life. ecosystem and biospheres. organism is distributed according to fixed patters that are clearly seen on the global scale as large and stable vegetation zones. According to the organization of life:• Molecules of life are organized specifically to form cells. • Arrangement of all this system is considered as constitutes a complete organism. • Tissues then arranged to form functional organ varies in structure and function.

for example shorea with its natural environment. Ecological study also can be divided into two parts as follows:• Autecology’s is related to the study of the relationship between individual organism. physic. chemistry. On the contrary. the flow of energy through organism and the rate of increase of organic composition and organism. Production ecology which is related to the aspects of energy transfer in a system. freshwater ecology. 8 . As such. • Synecology’s is related to the study of groups of groups of organisms that combine to form a whole unit. Here the focus is on the life cycles and organism behaviors as an adaptation to the environment. must take the autecological approach. populations or species and the environment. Generally ecology can be divided into plant ecology and animal ecology. Scope of ecological study can be further subdivided into various divisions such as:• • • • • Habitat ecology such as marine ecology. estuarine ecology and terrestrial ecology. the study approach must be synecological. study of ecology covers widely various branches of science such as taxonomy. but they all exist as a whole in the natural environment. animal behavior and sociology. It must be emphasized that the division of ecology into a number of detailed divisions is solely to facilitate studies. if the study is related to the forest in whish the shorea plants live.Division in the Field of Ecological Studies Basically. Preservation ecology which is related to the efficient and effective management of the natural resources to increase their production. Ecosystem ecology which is related to the relationship between biotic and abiotic component in an ecosystem. physiology. studies carried out on one relationship. Paleontology which is related to the geological environment of fossil organism. geology.

determination of the enzymes involved in the mineralization reactions.1. • • Other research activities include study of a (a) the behavior of xenobiotics and native organic compounds in soil and their impact on ecosystem stability and (b) biogeochemical cycles in native ecosystems and the factors controlling these processes. The product of the optimized soil quality will be improvement of both ecosystem quality and overall environmental health. The studies of the behavior of xenobiotics in soils have involved the examination of reclamation and management practice for disturbed soils. genetic engineered bacteria) may be added to the soils in which their action is needed. and problem associated with disposal of radioactive wastes. reduction of toxicity. Development of methods to manage soil quality in sites contaminated with biodegradable carbonaceous substances: The capacity to optimize soil quality in systems contaminated with petroleum products undergoing a variety of remediation procedures is being assessed. The properties of soil and of bacteria controlling transport of microbes ore being evaluated. These studies include a micro morphological evaluation of soil to determine the components of soil to which foreign bacteria become associated when washed into soil pores and elucidation of the properties of soil controlling function and survival of the bacterial propagulas. The capacity to ameliorate the impact of metal contamination on soil biological function and to optimize soil quality through a variety of remediation procedures is being evaluated. Specific research areas include:• Elucidation of the properties of soil controlling microbial movement and function of soil: For successful bioremediation of soil system. behavior of antibiotics and various carcinogens in soils. microbes capable of catalyzing the requisite processes (frequently. The overall objective of these studies is to derive principles applicable to assessment and management of industrially contaminated soil sites. To achieve this objective. bacterial propagules must be amended to soil surface and washed through the soil pores to the sites where their function is required. evaluation of the rates of plant nutrient movement through various soil organic matter pools (including the effect of various management systems on 9 . Objectives of the biogeochemical cycle projects relate to the elucidation of the responsible microbial populations. Evaluation of the recovery of soil quality in heavy metal impacted soils: High metal loadings reduce soil biological activity and therefore result in a reduction of overall ecosystem health. Recovery of soil biological activity. and recovery of soil structure are being evaluated.1 Objective of Soil Ecology Primary research initiatives involve evaluating the properties of soil which define soil quality and assessing the capability of implementing soil remediation procedures to optimize the soil quality level.

Under a 1-meter-square soil surface. such knowledge will be applied in the development of a biological indicator of soil quality. as they contribute to the development of soil structure. An important focus in this theme is on the significance of soil organisms for nutrient use efficiency. collembolan. These organisms form an integral part of the soil. and earthworms. PACs and injected manure) on soil organism activity. as well as 100 to 1.000 species of soil animals. and delineation of plant-microbe interactions affecting nutrient cycles. Ultimately. such as protozoa. community and ecosystem level also to ultimately increase understanding of the role of soil organisms. Soil is generally considered (and treated as) a lifeless substance. and would not exist without the organisms inhabiting it. what is its function. disease suppression.000 bacterial and fungal types may be found. the dynamics of organic matter.this nutrient mobility). nematodes. 10 . The objective of this ecological study is to study soil organisms at the population. more than 10. what are the linkages vegetation diversity. and can we use this knowledge in the development of sustainable agriculture? A second important research topic is the effect of environmental stressors (such as metals. mites. and the availability of nutrients for plant growth. but the opposite is true: Soils teem with life. and soil structure formation. Current research questions relate to the structure and function of soil biodiversity: How is soil biodiversity maintained.

With the knowledge of the effects of physical environmental factors on the development and physiology of individual organism.2 Importance of Ecological Study The importance of the knowledge obtained from ecological studies includes the following: • Initiate us to understand the roles and function of an ecosystem. primary mortality factors in a natural population is known. Facilitate us to understand the concepts of natural population control. the process the evolution can be understood to a greater depth.1. the study of natural populations of organisms can be carried out more accurately. Enable us to understand the life system of a species. This is based on the facts that the plants and animals complex in a community is the sum total of the interrelationships between organisms and their physical environment. Through the study of genetic changes in the species. • • • • • • 11 . the upper and lower mortality limits can be determined. to be carried out more effectively. With the development of improved sampling methods. This way. Make possible the management of chemical control on animal pest such as insects. This further allows us to develop control measures that least affects the balance of the natural environment.

but this number does not mean anything by itself. We therefore need to use soil analysis to determine how much of each nutrient the soil will provide to our crop. Another laboratory may use a different method and get a different potassium value on the same sample. if they are both properly calibrated. Various methods have been developed and the key to success is that the methods must be calibrated. The numbers on a soil report do not indicate the exact amount of nutrients available to a crop. they can then be used to predict whether or not a crop will need additional nutrients and how many needs to be added. the two methods should give the same fertility description. Experiments must be done to show that the result of the analysis consistently indicate the amount of nutrient that a crop will actually get from the soil. What really matters is that for our method. The analytical result is used to suggest how much nutrient should be applied. 3 12 . For example. The trick to soil analysis is to determine both the amount of each nutrient that is immediately available and the amount that can become available during the life of the crop. this value indicates that the potassium level is deficient.What is Soil Analysis? The idea behind balance plant nutrition is to apply nutrients that cannot be adequately supplied by the soil. but the majority is in solid forms. Plants take up nutrients in solution: therefore most of the solid nutrients may be unavailable. a soil may contain 5. The exact amount needed will depend on the crop to be grown and must be modified to suit the conditions under which it is grown. The results from the two laboratories cannot be directly compared. Once the method and its interpretation are shown to be reliable. The potassium analytical result may be 0. Soils often contain high amounts of nutrients.000 lbs of potassium per acre. they should both indicate that the soil is deficient in potassium.25 meq/100 cm3. but only 50 lbs may be available to a crop. However. they give a description of the soil fertility. but when interpreted correctly.

• 13 . this method is suitable for the study of the characteristic of the different layers of a specific soil profile. Using this method. soil samples can be obtained from various depths. a soil sample is isolated by puling out the piston from its cylinder. As such.10). this tool can be used to obtain soil samples from different depths. using this method may cause various problem besides it’s a difficult technique and also may destroy the soil area being studied. The use of a corer.1 Soil Sampling Technique Any technique that is used for soil sampling must be one that maintains the soil sample in its natural condition so that the results obtained from its study illustrate the actual characteristics of the soil. However. a large portion of the natural structure of the soil is maintained in its original state. The use of the scoop. An example of a corer is the ‘apple-corer’ type (figure 2. Through this method.2.11). Using this methods. Like the soil bore. Methods that are usually used for soil sampling include:• • The use of soil bore (figure 2.

3. 2. Conclusion 14 . We must be very careful when dig and take out the soil sample in order to maintain its natural and original state. Carefully press the metal cylinder into the land contains soil (terrestrial area). 2. Soil sample must not be pressed or crashed.11 ‘Apple-Corer’ types Corer Procedure 1. Discussion 1.1 Soils Sampling Techniques Purpose: Soil Sampling Using Apple-Corer type Corer Technique Apparatus: • Metal Cylinder and Piston (to dig out soil) • Newspapers Figure 2.10 Soil Bore EXPERIMENT 2. The soil is removed from the cylinder by using the piston.Figure 2. Soils that contain in the metal cylinder then dig out from that area.

On the other hand. they can hold water and nutrient. will wilt. Texture provides a means to physically describe soil by feel. 2. Silt is smaller than the sand and larger than clay. namely sand.2 DETERMINATION OF THE TEXTURE OF SOIL USING MECHANICAL ANALYTSIS A Piece Of Information Soil texture is determined by the relative amounts of three groups of soil particles. This is because of it’s size and physical properties.• Using the appropriate technique and methods will prevent any kind of distraction or damage on the sample which will be used in the ecological study. A soil with extremely fine particles holds tremendous amounts and can hold so much as to exclude air from the soil. silt and clay. Silts are more weathered than sand.002 15 .02-0.0-0. Thus the perfect soil texture for growing plants is a compromise between fine. A soil with a very large particles drains to extensively and plants will lack sufficient water. Clay is the smallest of the three particles size. The texture of soil determines the amounts of air and water the soil can hold. Plant roots need liberal supplies of both.0 2. soil consisting of extremely fine pack tightly and permits little air in the soil to support root function. and perhaps even die. Silt has less surface area than clay. Sand has very limited chemicals and physicals bindings with particles in the soil. and perhaps will die as well. It doesn’t let air and water passing through it well. Sand has large particles with little surface area.2-0. medium. and coarse particles. Large soil particles do not pack tightly and therefore provide air spaces in the soil. In the case. The relative sizes for three types of soil particles is shown in Table 2. the roots die. Clay has thousands of time or more surface area of sand. the plants wilt.002 <0.2 0.02 0.21 Soil Particles Stones/ Gravels Coarse Sand Fine Sand Silt Clay Diameter Of Soil Particles (mm) >2. It has strong affinity for water and nutrients.

slit. and clay should total 100.20 : size ranges of soil particles according ISSS (International Soil science Society ) standard. silt and clay fraction are all shared in the class. silt is very slick or floury and clay is very sticky when wet. In naming textural classes. percent silt and percent clay. the last word is the dominating fraction. They are more aerated. Soil textural classes are derived from a textural triangle. They have lower organic matter. sand is gritty. Heavy soils being fine textured. and clay from textural classes when mixed in differing percentages. Loam --.TABLE 2. Light soils are easier to work. slit.means sand is the dominating fraction. They hold less moisture. Sand. but silt and clay present. They also have higher nutrient leaching potential. ) By feel. There are million combinations of percent sand.means silts and clay are present.20: A Textural triangle Farmers refer to texture as: Light soils being coarse textured. They have more temperature flocculation between day and night. When using a textural triangle. *Stones (gravels are not considered to be soil particles. Sandy loam --.means sand. Figure 2. the percentage of sand. 16 . but sand dominates. Loamy sand --.

Block like---aggregates with horizontal axes and vertical are more or less equal. crumb like. and clay are arranged or grouped together to form structures. like a dinner plate or Frisbee. Soil texture and soil structure have strong influences on soil aggregation. soil gas evacuation. root development and microorganisms’ activity. They have higher biological activity and organic matter. Like the toy building blocks or a small sugar cube.21: Shapes of soil aggregate 17 . soil drainage. Think of a quartz prism. Block like structure is found deep in the soil horizon. granular. Soil structure is the way sand. and nutrient as simulation. root growth. Shapes Of Soil Aggregates FIGURE 2. Types of soil structure are: • • • • Prism like ---aggregates with horizontal axes are shorter than vertical axes. Spheroid ----aggregates that are more or less rounded. water penetration. This structure is found under grass stands near the surface. This structure is found in young soils or in dry and arid regions.Heavy soils are harder to work. The soil structure can be altered. This structure occurs on or near the soil surface caused by ponded water or impact from rain. Plate like ---aggregates with horizontal axes longer than the vertical. silt. Each individual unit of soil structure called a pad. They hold more moisture and the soil temperature fluctuates less. They have lower nutrient leaching potential. A wellaggregated soil improves soil air.

shearing or pulling force. By destroying structure. and how the soil responds to tillage under different moisture contents. This affects root growth and biological activity. bind with organic matter. Soil consistence is the resistance of soil to deformation or rapture by a compressing. The chemical and biological phase is affected because the soil is compacted.Improper soil structure management affects the physical. Consistence is a measure of how soil particles bind together. the solid phase of soil increases at the expense of air and water. chemical and biological properties. 18 .

All the soil samples are dried in oven at 101oc-105oc. 0. 4.02mm and 0. 5. 4 beakers. electronic balance. Step (4) is repeated for sieves with 0. Soil sample A.02mm mesh openings respectively. 8. All the data obtained are performed in Table 2. and C Materials: Procedure: 1. Its mass with beaker (f) is recorded. The sieve is shaken carefully until no soil particles are coming out through the openings.2 Purpose: Apparatus: To determine the texture of a soil sample.002mm mesh opening are clay.2. Sieved soil particles on the newspaper are collected and are put onto another sieve with 0. 7. 3.2mm openings. Step (2) and (3) are repeated to find the mass of another type of soil particles. 2. rubber gloves. Soil particles that stay on top of the sieve is collected and its mass with beaker is recorded as (b). Sieved soil particles on the newspaper sieves with 0. B. Four sieves with 2mm. and 0. 6.EXPERIMENT 2. Types of mesh 19 . A sieves with 2mm mesh openings are put on a large piece of newspaper and the soil sample A is poured on the sieve (a). oven and crucibles.002mm mesh openings. The textural classes for each soil sample are determined.2mm. newspaper. plastic bags.

11.40 10. 5. e-g Clay. d-g Slit.03 45.20 128. sand.04 242. 9.33 110.50 33. g Stones.17 153. b Beaker + coarse sand. 1. 1.97 165.69 147. d Beaker + slit. 4. 2. 7.96 107. f Beaker.91 94. 1.62 70.32 TABLE 2.54 20 . 2.15 Soil sample C 9.35 3. 3. 6.55 23.79 42.43 11.43 Soil Sample C 584.51 116. e Beaker + clay.32 53.28 39. Percentage of / % Stones Sand Slit Clay Soil sample A 0.82 295.84 150. b-g Coarse sand.79 Soil sample C 43. 12. silt.13 13. f-g Soil Sample A 444. 3. and clay components of soil sample.27 97.83 111.16 33.55 54. Percentage of / % Sand Slit Clay Soil sample A 42.89 105.21 : Masses of stones.64 TABLE 2. Mass of /g Soil sample.27 198. 8.13 6.78 58.30 174.08 11.29 23.95 Soil Sample B 75. a Beaker + stones. 2.56 Soil Sample B 153.86 210.00 41.03 121.46 9. 4.28 100.24 199.33 155. No. sand. Percentage of soil Component = Mass of soil component Mass of soil sample X 100% No.FIGURE 2.83 39. c-g Fine sand.82 6.65 31. 3.20 6.96 10.22 : Sieves with different size of mesh openings Result: No. 10. slit and clay components of soil sample.50 241.76 Soil sample B 47.85 73.19 96. c Beaker + fine sand.22: Percentage of stones.

23: Relative percentage of sand.23: The textural classes for soil sample A is loam 21 .Table 2. slit. and clay components of soil sample FIGURE 2.

loamy sand and sandy clay respectively.FIGURE 2.25: The textural classes for soil sample C is sandy clay. Discussion: 1. C are loam. This is because stone are not considering as a type of soil particles. slit and clay must be determined to complete the soil textural triangle as shown above. All the soil samples need to be dried up first so that the soil particles can be sieved easily. B.24: The textural classes for soil sample B is loamy sand FIGURE 2. The relative percentage of sand. Conclusion: The textural classes for soil sample A. 2. 22 .

That feed comes in the form of organic matter Organic matter and humus are term that describes somewhat different but related things. increased water storage capacity. Soil organic matter can be compared to a bank account for plant nutrients. better water infiltration.000 pounds of organic matter per acre. It is the end product of organic matter decomposition and is relatively stable. reduced erosion. Based on the understanding. 23 . granulation of soil into water-stable aggregates. When soil livestock are fed. decreased crusting and cladding.3 Organic Matter and Humus of Soil Organic Matter and Humus of Soil Understanding the role that soil organism's play is critical to sustainable soil management. soil livestock require proper feed. It is clear that management of organic matter and humus is essential to sustaining the whole soil ecosystem. to maintain their populations. or other materials imported from off site. Assuming a 5% release rate during the growing season.200 pounds of nitrogen per acre. The benefits of a topsoil rich in organic matter and humus are many.000 pounds of organic matter will contain about 5. Like cattle and other farm animals. and increased water and nutrient holding capacity. or from animal manure. Humus contributes to well-structured soil that. Soil containing 4% organic matter in the top seven inches has 80. Organic matter refers to fraction of the soil that is composed of both living organisms and once-living residues in various stages of decomposition. a balance is reached between the amount of humus formation and the amount of humus decay this balance also occurs in most agricultural soil. if the organic matter is allowed to degrade and lose nitrogen. In natural systems. depend on organic matter as their food source. except algae. and the soil will feed the plants. and deeper. Those 80. fertility is built up in the soil. improve internal drainage. more prolific plant root systems. the organic matter could supply 210 pounds of nitrogen to a crop. They include rapid decomposition of crops residues. All the soil organisms mentioned previously. produces high-quality plants. Further decomposition of humus occurs very slowly in both agricultural and natural settings. better formation and harvesting of root crops. amounting to 4. purchased fertilizer will be necessary to prop up crop yields. compost.2. organic matter must be renewed from plants growing on the soil. but often at a much lower level of soil humus. in turn. Humus is only a small portion of the organic matter. Improvements in the soil's physical structure facilitate easier tillage. focus can be directed toward strategies that build both the numbers and the diversity of soil organism. Therefore. However.25% nitrogen.

soil. When this aggregates become wet again. Aggregates can also be held together by plant roots.S. Wright has a brochure describing and how it benefits soil. waxes. earthworm activity.something akin to wildlife management or animal husbandry. Weak electrical forces from calcium and magnesium hold soil particles together when the soil dries. does not crust. and aeration. nutrients. Good tilth is dependent on aggregation-the process whereby individual soil particles are joined into clusters or "aggregates". When Wright measured glomalin in soil aggregates she found levels as high as 2% of their total weight in eastern U. The aggregate is then strong enough to hold together when wet-hence the term “water-stable”. forming waterstable aggregates (figure2. Manageable Soil Glue. To order this brochure sees the Additional Resources _section of this publication. Earthworm-created aggregates are stable once they come out of the worm. temperature. Aggregates form in soils when individual soil particles are oriented and brought together through the physical forces of wetting and drying or freezing and thawing. or hyphae. takes in water rapidly. their stability is challenged. building organic matter and humus levels in the soil is a matter of managing the soil's living organisms. This entails working to maintain favourable conditions of moisture. easy seeding emergence. USDA soil microbiologist Sara Wright named the glue that holds aggregates together “glomalin” after the Glom ales group of common root-dwelling fungi. Soil aggregates from the West and Midwest had lower levels of glomalin. and by glue-like products produced by soil micro organisms. Aggregates can also become stabilized (remain intact when wet) through the by-product of organic matter decomposition by fungi and bacteria chiefly gums. 24 . and deep root penetration. Tilth is the physical condition of the soil as it relates to tillage ease. An aggregates formed by physical forces can be bound together by fine root hair or threads produced by fungi. Glomalin levels and aggregation were higher in no-till corn plot than in tilled plots. It also involves providing a steady food source of raw organic material. These by-products cement the soil particles together. and they may break apart. pH. entitled Glomalin. and other glue-like substances. Soil Tilth Organic Matter A soil that drains well. seedbed quality.Ultimately.30). These fungi secrete a gooey protein known as glomalin through their hair-like filaments. however. and does not make clods is said to have good tilth. She found that tillage tends to lower glomalin levels.

Manure rate Inches of water (tons /acre) 0 1. Finally. and soil arthropods can pass more easily through a wellaggregated soil.2 8 1. If the clay particles in these soils can be aggregated together. Roots. For a good example of the effect of organic matter additions on aggregation.31. Sandy soils can benefit from aggregation by having a small 25 .30 Water entry into the soil after 1 hour The opposite of aggregation is dispersion. increased air flow. because aggregates are much heavier than their particles components.30) Well-aggregated soil allows for increased water entry. Clay soils with poor aggregation tend to be sticky when wet. wellaggregated soils are more erosion resistant. Aggregated soil also prevents crusting of the soil surface. each individual soil particle is free to blow away with the wind or wash away with overland flow of water. as compared to a finely pulverized and dispersed soil. Plant roots occupy a larger volume of well-aggregated soil. low in organic matter.9 16 2. see table 2.7 Table 2. and increased water-holding capacity. better aeration and water infiltration will result. High in organic matter. as shown by subsequent increase in water entry into the soil. earthworms.Figure (2. In the dispersed soil. and cloddy when dry.

31 Long-term grass production produces the best-aggregated soils. contributing to the physical processes that help form aggregates. cropping sequences that involve annual plants and extensive cultivation provide less vegetative cover and organic matter. Figure 2. which in turn generate compounds that bind soil particles into water-stable aggregates. In addition. Crusting is a common problem on soils that are poorly aggregated. Roots continually remove water from soil micro sites. which allow the accumulation of surface residue. Following drying. Rainfall causes clay particles on the soil surface to disperse and clog the pores immediately beneath the surface. Conversely.amount of dispersed clay that tends to stick between the sand particles and slow the downward movement of water. 26 . Fine root hairs also bind soil aggregates together. a sealed soil surface result in which most of the pore space has been drastically reduced due to clogging from dispersed clay particles.31) Since raindrops start crusting. perennial grass sods provide protection from raindrops and erosion. and usually result in a rapid decline in soil aggregation. Crusting results chiefly from the impact of falling raindrops. as do no-till practices. any Management practices that protect the soil from Their impact will decrease crusting and increase Water flow into the soil. Also a well-aggregated soil will resist crusting because the water-stable aggregates are less likely to break apart when the raindrop hits them. A grass sod extends a mass of fine roots throughout the topsoil. Thus. a perennial cover creates a combination of conditions optimal for the creation and maintenance of well-aggregated soil. Subsequent rainfall is much more likely to run off than to flow into the soil (figure 2. Roots also produce food for soil microorganisms and earthworms. Mulches and cover crops serve this purpose well. providing local wetting and drying effects that promotes aggregation.

by minimizing factors that degrade and destroy aggregation. which speeds up decomposition of organic matter  excess nitrogen fertilization  allowing the build-up of excess sodium from irrigation or sodiumcontaining fertilizers Table 2. Organic Matter. The level of organic matter present in the soil is a direct function of how much organic material is being produced or added to the soil versus the rate of decomposition. Because the binding substances are themselves susceptible to microbial degradation. High rainfall and temperature promote rapid plant growth.31 Factors that Destroy or Degrade Soil Aggregates. moisture. Low rainfall or low temperatures slow both plant growth and organic matter decomposition. Practices should conserve aggregates once they are formed. organic matter needs to be replenished to maintain microbial populations and overall aggregated soil status. The native Midwest prairie soils originally had a high amount of organic matter from the continuous growth and decomposition of perennial grasses. nitrogen levels. Tillage. cropping and fertilization. Achieving this balance entails slowing the speed of organic matter decomposition. and Plant Productivity Several factors affect the level of organic matter that can be maintained in a soil. Moist and hot tropical areas may appear 27 . temperature. Among these are organic matter additions. but these conditions are also favourable to rapid organic matter decomposition and loss. Moisture and temperature also profoundly affect soil organic matter levels. tillage. Some factors that destroy or degrade soil aggregates are:  bare soil surface exposed to the impact of raindrops  removal of organic matter through crop production and harvest without return the organic matter to the soil  excessive tillage  working the soil when it is too wet or too dry  use of anhydrous ammonia.Farming practices can be geared to conserve and promote soil aggregation. combined with a moderate temperature that did not allow for rapid decomposition of organic matter. while increasing the supply of organic materials produced on site and / or added from off site.

no-till the least. The mouldboard blow can bury crop residue and topsoil to a depth of 14 inches. molboard plowing causes the fastest decline of organic matter. In cold climates with a long dormant season. As indicated in. light tillage of a heavy residue may be beneficial. Shallow tillage incorporates residue and speeds the decomposition of organic matter by adding oxygen that microbes need to become more active. and some tillage implements themselves compact the soil further. Furthermore. removing oxygen and increasing the change that deeply buried residues will putrefy. The plow lays the soil up on its side. in warmer climates it is hard enough to maintain organic matter levels without any tillage. That’s why a fence post rots off at the surface. Crop residues that were originally on the surface but now have been turn under will putrefy in the oxygen-deprived zone. depending on what type of tillage is used and it is done. the top few inches of the field are often covered with subsoil having very little organic matter content and. In terms of organic matter. Finally. Tillage can be beneficial or harmful to a biologically active soil. organic matter decomposition should proceed as an efficient burn of the ‘wood’ to release nutrients and carbohydrates to the soil organisms and create stable humus. At this depth. Tillage can reduced the organic matter level in croplands below 1% rendering them biologically dead. Ideally. the oxygen level in the soil is so low that decomposition can not proceed Adequately. The topsoil is where the biological activity happens-it’s where the oxygen is. tillage is similar to opening the air vents on a wood-burning stove. Rapid decomposition of organic matter returns nutrients back to the soil. limited ability to support productive crop growth. adding organic matter is like adding wood to the stove. With the molboard plow.lush because of rapid plant growth. This rotting activity may give a putrid smell to the soil. more than entire organic matter contribution from the wheat straw is gone within only 19 days following tillage. allowing more air into the soil and speeding the decomposition rate. The other three types of tillage are intermediate in their ability to foster organic matter decomposition. Oxygen is the key factors here. 28 . Tillage affects both erosion rates and soil organic matter decomposition rates. where they are almost immediately taken up by rapidly growing plants. Surface-dwelling decomposer organisms suddenly find themselves suffocated and soon die. the passage of heavy equipment increases compaction in the wheel tracks. but soils in these areas are low in nutrients. The molboard plow increases the soil surface area. The horizontal line on represents the replenishment of organic matter provided by wheat stubble. increasing the surface area exposed to oxygen. Clean tillage involving molboard plowing and disking breaks down soil aggregates and leaves and soil prone to erosion from wind and water. therefore.

reduced water runoff. These systems represent intermediate tillage systems. Notice the direct relationship between tillage type. Groff grows cover crops extensively in his fields. minimum tillage. This rolling chopper kills the rye or vetch cover crop and creates nice no-till mulch into which he plants a variety of vegetable and grain crops. On the down side. Both no-till and reduced tillage systems provide benefits to the soil. Table 2.33 shows three different tillage methods and how they affect water entry into the soil. No-till has more than three times the water infiltration of the molboard-plowed soil.31 Tillage effects on water infiltration and group cover.No-till Chisel Plow Moldboard Plow From Boyle et al. 29 . rolling them down in the spring using a 10-foot rolling stalk chopper. A soil managed without tillage relies on soil organisms to take over the jod of plant residue incorporation formerly done by tillage. The advantages of a no-till system include superior soil conservation. Pioneering development work on chemical-free no-till farming is proceeding at several research stations and farms in the eastern U. or by ordering his video (see Additional Resources section ). ground cover. 1989. This soil skin reduces the impact of raindrops and buffers the soil from temperatures extremes as well as reducing water evaporation.S. no-till can foster a reliance on herbicides to control weeds and can lead to soil compaction from the traffic of heavy equipment. Additionally. and water infiltration.Tillage also reduced the rate of water entry into the soil by removal of ground cover and destruction of aggregates. his soils are mellow and easy to plant into Groff farms 175 acres of vegetables.7 1. alfalfa.3 0. zone tillage. by visiting his Web site. resulting in compaction and crusting. moisture conservation. Pennsylvania farmer Steve Groff has been farming no-till with minimal or no herbicides for several years.8 Ground cover percent 48 27 12 . no-till fields will have higher aggregation from the organic matter decomposition on site. Water Infiltration mm/minute 2. allowing more flexibility than either a no-till or conventional till system might. They are more beneficial to soil organisms than a conventional clean-tillage system of molboard plowing and disking. The surface mulch typical of no-till fields acts as a protective skin for the soil. and reduced tillage each possessing some of the advantages of both conventional till and no-till. Learn more about his operation in the Farmer Profiles section of this publication. long-term build up of organic matter. and increased water infiltration. Table 2. and grain crops on his Cedar Meadow Farm. After several years of no-till production. Other conservation tillage systems include ridge tillage.

However.5% in the top 12 inches of soil. Cool-season grasses build soil organic matter faster than warmseason grasses because they are growing much longer during a given year. there is a net gain of organic matter because the cool-season grass is producing organic matter faster than it is being used up. 30 . organic matter production during the growing season can be slowed during the long dormant season from fall through early spring.Adding manure and compost is a recognized means for improving soil organic matter and humus levels. In their absence perennial is the only crop that can regenerate and increase soil humus. With warm-season grasses. a cropping rotation that includes several years of pasture will be most beneficial. cool-season grass is growing. switchgrass (a warm-season grass)grown for four years increased soil carbon content from 1. it is producing organic matter and cycling minerals from the decomposing organic matter in the soil. During the beginning and end of this dormant period.In hot and moist regions. the soil is still biologically active. in a Texas study.While growing. When the soil is warm enough for soil organisms to decompose organic matter. In other words. yet not grass growth is proceeding. Some net accumulation of organic matter can occur under warmseason grasses.1% to 1.

since additional growth in their population is limited by a lack of nitrogen. Thereafter. applied nitrogen. animal manure. At this ratio. which allows the populations of decay organisms to explode as they decompose more organic matter with the now abundant nitrogen.Effect of Nitrogen on Organic Matter Excessive nitrogen applications stimulate increased microbial activity. 31 . tied up in the soil organisms.The extra nitrogen narrows the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in the soil. To minimize the fast decomposition of soil organic matter. Typical carbon sources – such as green manures. until the balance between carbon and nitrogen is achieved again.When large amounts of inorganic nitrogen are added. which in turn speeds organic matter decomposition. With little carbon available. becomes subject to leaching.Native or uncultivated soils have approximately 12 parts of carbon to each part of nitrogen. soil carbon content may be reduced to a level where the bacterial populations are on a starvation diet. and less of the free soil nitrogen absorbed. its nitrogen is consumed by another soil organism. Amendments containing too high a carbon to nitrogen ratio (25:1 or more) can tip the balance the other way. As soon as a soil microorganism dies and decomposes. While soil bacteria can efficiently use moderate applications of inorganic nitrogen accompanied by organic amendments (carbon ). Eventually. Soil organisms consume all the nitrogen in an effort to decompose the abundant carbon . the C : N ratio is reduced. resulting in nitrogen being tied up in an unavailable form. bacterial populations shrink. or a C : N ratio of 12 : 1. excess nitrogen results in decomposition of existing organic matter at a rapid rate. carbon should be added with nitrogen. rather than being cycled through microbial organisms and re-released to plants slowly over time. nitrogen remains unavailable for plant uptake. populations of decay bacteria are kept at a stable level. and compost –serve – this purpose well. This can greatly reduced the efficiency of fertilization and to environmental problems.

The percentage of organic matter content in the soil sample is calculated as follow : Y-Z x100 Y-X 32 .110 celsius). This step is repeated until a constant weight is obtained. 4. The crucible is covered and weighed again. 2. The mass ( Z ) is recorded. 5. 1/3 of the crucible is filled with the soil sample that has been previously dried in an oven (105 .3 Determination of Organic Matter Content of The Soil Purpose : to determine the organic matter content in the soil sample Apparatus:  Desiccators  Tripod  Bunsen burner  Asbestos mat  Fire clay triangle tongs  Crucible Materials :  Dried soil sample Procedure 1. The mass (Y )is recorded. 3. Crucible and lid strongly heated to remove all trace of moisture. The hot crucible and its contents are then cooled in desiccators after which they weighed. The covered crucible and its contents are then heated until red-hot for approximately 1 hour to burn off all the organic matter. The crucible and lid then cooled in the desiccators and the mass (X ) is weighted and recorded.EXPERIMENNT 2.

all trace of moisture will be totally remove but it will as well burn off the organic matter contain in the soil sample. Precaution Steps 1. Dried soil sample is used in order to prevent including the weight of water while measuring the weight of organic matter.05 – 22.Results From the weight readings obtained.05 . 3.56 g Soil sample used = (24. the experiment should be repeated so that the constant value of the weight of organic matter is obtained.94 g Organic matter = ( 24.11 g Crucible +cover + soil before heating = 24.56 ) g = 1. there will be still containing moisture.47 % Discussion 1. This causes the organic matter of soil sample can not be determine by us. If the soil sample is dried under 90 celcius of temperature. 2. Conclusion The percentage of organic matter content in the soil sample is 21. During the soil sample is heated in the crucible.49 g Percentage of organic component = Weight of organic matter x100 Weight of soil sample used = 1.11 ) g = 6.94 g = 21.49 g x100 6. the percentage of organic matter in soil sample can be calculated as follows : Crucible +cover = 17. Soil sample is dried in oven at the temperature of 101 -110 celsius which is consider as most suitable range of temperature to remove trace of moisture in the soil sample. but if its dried at 150 celcius.05 g Crucible +cover + soil after heating = 22. the crucible have to be covered by a lid to prevent the transfer of heat to surroundings.47 % 33 . Soil sample that used in this experiment required to heat for 1 hour in order to organic matter in soil sample will be completely oxidized by heat provided.17. 4. To ensure that oxidation of organic matter contains in the soil sample is complete.

40 Soil Water Levels within Three Soil Types Excess soil water or gravitational water ( Figure 2. Available soil water (figure 2. part of the excess water may be used by plants before it moves out of the root zone. plants can use approximately 50 percent of the available water without stress. and ( 3 ) unavailable soil water.42 ) is retained in the soil by capillary forces and can be extracted by the plant.2. ( 2 ) available soil water.4 Water Content of Soil Soil Water Definitions Soil water is classified into three categories : ( 1 ) excess soil water or gravitational water. See Figure 2. Since drainage takes time. stress can occur.41 ) drains or percolates readily by gravitational force. When less than 50 percent of available water remains. It is the water held by the soil between field capacity and wilting point. Figure 2. 34 .41 for a schematic representation of soil water. This soil water is most important for crop production.

It is the amount of water remaining in a soil after it has been saturated and allowed to drain for 24 hours.43 Unavailable Soil Water 35 . Sands.42 Available Water Figure 2. the water available for plant growth exists between the range of field capacity and wilting point. Unavailable water remains when soil is direr than wilting point.The capacity varies with soil texture. they wilt and do not recover.Field capacity is the water content of a soil at a upper limit of the available water range. Available water capacity is all the water that a soil can possibly hold between field capacity and wilting point.43 ) is soil water held so firmly to soil particles by adsorptive soil forces that it can not be extracted by plants. and 52 percent. Unavailable soil water ( Figure 2. When plants have removed all of the available water from a given soil.41 Gravitational Water Figure 2. respectively. and gravitational water if present. Volumetric water content is the fraction or percent of water in the total soil volume. Permanent wilting point is the lower limit of the available water range. Figure 2. Thus. unavailable. 48 percent. loams. Volumetric water content is the total amount of water that a soil holds at a particular time. and clay loams reach saturation when volumetric water content is 45 percent. It includes the available.

The water must be under negative pressure to rise because this capillary phenomenon can operate in any direction. Capillary forces are also important for retaining water in soil pores.44 ). but the water is under negative pressure due to the capillary forces. The pore geometry is much more complex than the simple capillary tubes. If the capillary tubes are placed with one end in a pan of water. Figure 2. During and immediately after a rain or irrigation greatest movement of water occurs in the soil. Afterward.44 Capillary force is illustrated by how far water rises in tubes of various diameters. The smaller the tube. Capillary forces can be illustrated by a group of small capillary tubes with different diameters ( Figure 2. The height of the water in each tube would depend on the diameter of the tube. The surface tension of the water itself and the diameter of the tube cause the water to rise. and ( 2 ) in the pore space between particles. the higher the rise. the water would rise into each tube. the pore spaces are nearly filled with water. When water infiltrates into the soil from rain or irrigation. water movement continues due to gravity and capillary forces. It is the key to water retention in the soil pores. 36 .Soil Water Retention The soil holds water in two ways : ( 1 ) as a film coating on soil particles.

4 15.3 0. Commonly tension units are bars which are nearly equivalent to 1 atmosphere ( 14. the tension of the remaining water increases.1 – 0. not all water is equally available. For most soils this corresponds to a negative pressure of 0.Table 2.1 0. the tension used to hold water increases.40 illustrates typical soil water tensions for three soil textures. 37 . Plants can extract water more readily when water tension is small.Soil Water Tension Different diameters of capillary tubes illustrate how water is held in soils. The negative pressure to remove water from soil at given water content can be measured. Soil Water Retension Curves water is under tension and it takes energy to remove it from the soil. In unsaturated soil. They are different for each soil because of differences in soil textures and structures. Also as films of water around soil separates or aggregates get thinner. The capillary force or tension with which water is held in the soil is most important to plant growth.0 15. In the range of water available for plant growth.3 atmospheres.7 psi ).0 Loam Silty Clay Loam Soil Water Tension( bars ) 0.45. A plant which is extracting water from a soil at 1/2 bar means it is exerting a negative pressure of about 7 psi. The relationship of soil water content and soil water tension is represented in Figure 2. The same plant would exert – 147 psi if the soil were at 10 bars of tension. As the water content of a soil decreases from the saturation point. Curves like Figure 2. water tension increases.0 15.As soil dries. At field capacity the soil water is held with a certain tension. Sand Field Capacity 50 % Available Water Remaining Wilting Point 0. Smaller pores hold water with more tension ( negative pressure ) than larger pores.5 2. Tension is a measure of negative pressure.2 1.0 Table 2.45 are call water retension or soil water characteristic curves. Soil water tension measures the force with which water is retained by the soil.40 Soil Water Tension for Three Soil Textures.

Figure 2. The soil still contains water but it is held too tightly for plant root extraction. soil texture is the indicator for the amount of water a soil can hold. This is its available water capacity. Since the size and number of pores in soils are directly related to soil texture ( particle sizes ). Table 2. the soil water is at wilting point. The approximate range of available water content for a loam soil is depicted in Figure 2. As the soil dries.45. a plant will begin to wilt during the day but will recover at night. This soil water content corresponds to a tension of about 15 bars Loam soil has about 11 percent volumetric water content at wilting. 38 . When the soil water content decreases until the plant cannot extract enough water to recover from its wilted condition. Available Water Capacities A soil’s water storange characteristics are very important for irrigation management.45 the relationship of soil water content and soil water tension.41 is based on soil texture and can be used to determine the amount of available soil water that a given soil profile will hold.

25 – 1.41 Available Water Capacity based on soil texture Plant available water capacity changes with soil textures.6 1.Textural Clases Coarse Sands Fine Sands Loamy Sands Sandy Loams Fine Sandy Loam Silt Loams Silty Clay Loams Silty Clay Clay Available Water Capacity in Inches / Food of Depth 0.10 – 1.6 2.50 – 2.70 1.6 2.2 1.40 1.3 Table 2.00 – 2.50 1.4 2.42 Effect of the soil depth on plant available water capacity Available Water Total 39 .4 11.50 Table 2.75 0.20 1.20 – 1.3 7.00 2. Depth from surface ( inches ) Valentine fine sand 0–6 6 – 24 24 – 60 0–6 6 – 48 48 – 60 Hasting silt loam silt loam silt clay loam silt loam 1.42 gives an example for two soils.25 – 0.2 4.80 – 2.00 1.75 – 1.7 2. Soil texture often changes with depth because the soil horizons differ.2 1.0 0. Table 2.00 1.4 0.50 – 1.2 2.

Whether sprinkler ( center pivot ) or surface ( gravity ) irrigation systems will work on a particular field depends on the soil texture. Soil water content in the crop’s active root zone and available water capacity are the key indicators for applying the right amount of irrigation at the right time. excess or gravitation water moves out of the crop root zone toward the groundwater table. This is irrigation scheduling.Application of Soil Water Information Soil water holding characteristics are important for irrigation system selection. 40 . Since soil can hold only so much water. crop selection. irrigation scheduling. and ground water quality.Any dissolved nutrients or chemicals move with the water and can eventually end up in ground water.

The Petri dish that’s contains the soil sample is placed in the oven under 110 C of temperature for a hour to get rid of any moisture trace. Then the soil sample is removed from oven and cooled in desiccators and weighed again.Crucible Materials: .The mass (c) is recorded. 6.Mass (b) is recorded.Desiccators .EXPERIMENT 2. The percentage of water content in soil sample is determine and calculated as follows: b-c x 100 b-a 41 . Soil sample is added to the Petri dish and weighted.Petri Dish .4 Determination of Water Content of Soil Purpose: to determination the water content in the soil sample Apparatus: . 4. 5. Empty Petri dish is weighed and is mass (a) is recorded 2.Dried soil sample Procedure 1. 7.Thermometer . The soil sample is returned to the oven at 110 C for another 1 hour. Step 3 and 4 is repeated until a constant weight is obtained.Oven . 3.

2. Vaporization takes place when the soil sample dried in the oven.20 g Percentage of water content = weight of water content x 100 Weight of soil sample used =(132. 3.39)g =15. Experiment is repeated until constant mass is obtained in order to make sure that the soil sample is completely dried off.20)g x 100 (132.66% Discussion 1. During the soil sample is heated in the crucible. 4.32-29. the percentage of water content in soil sample can be calculated as follows:Weight of Petri dish (a) =29. A broken-up soil sample is used to provide enough surface area for the vaporization of water.39 g Weight of Petri dish + soil before drying (b) = 132. Conclusion • The percentage of water content in the soil sample is 15. Soil sample is dried in an oven at temperature 110 C for an hour because this is consider as approximate temperature to eliminate all the water trace in the soil sample including hygroscopic water. 2.Results >From the weight readings obtained. the crucible have to be covered by a lid to prevent the transfer of heat to the surroundings.66% 42 .32-116. water content in the hydrated crystalline chemical compound can be removing by drying it in the oven for not less than 1 hour.32 g Weight of Petri dish + soil after drying (c) = 116. Some water content in the soil sample cannot be lost through vaporization. Precaution Steps 1.

Gases diffuse along zones of high concentration to areas of low concentration. More organic matter in a base-rich soil would favour soil fauna which deplete soil oxygen and increase soil carbon dioxide. carbon dioxide (CO2). 43 . water diffusion occurs from areas of abundance (wet areas) to areas of deficit (dry ones). such as by deforestation and increased cultivation. creating anaerobic condition. After rain once excess moisture has drained from the soil.5 Air Content of Soil Water is soil air? Atmosphere penetrates into the soil though the pore space and fissures. fresh oxygen can not diffuse into the soil. Such gases in the nitrous oxide (NO2). is sometime 5-10 times higher. Disruption of natural soil processes.The by-products of the reduction of nitrates. hydrogen sulphide (H2S). released more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in the form of nitrogen compounds (especially NO2) and methane (CH4).g rice fields) creates anaerobic condition.2. and (2) carbon dioxide. the volume of air-filled pores is known as the air-capacity. It appears that soils play an important role in the sorption of greenhouse gases (‘carbon sink’) as twice as much carbon is found in the soil as in the atmosphere. An increase in floodwater farming (e. a by-product of decomposition. The movement of gases into and out of the atmosphere takes place by diffusion. sulphate. carbon monoxide (CO). defined as the movement of molecules along a gradient. releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.and methane (CH4). When the pores are saturated with water. manganese oxide. For example. Plant growth is inhibited and chemical reduction may occur in soil (as opposed to oxidation). and iron oxide cause fermentation that produces gases in the soil that are ultimately released to the atmosphere. Soil air differs from atmospheric air in that (1) it is saturated with water vapour (near 100% humidity).

EXPERIMENT 2. 8. 3. The final volume of the water and soil mixture is then read and recorded. 640 cm of water is measured using other measuring cylinder before water is added into the cylinder containing soil sample. This mixture is then vigorously shaken.soil sample Procedure: 1. 2. 6. 7. The punched milk cane is then pushed into soil to obtain a cane full of undisturbed soil sample 4. Then the soil sample from the cane is poured carefully into the large measuring cylinder. 44 . The volume of an empty milk cane is determined by using water and measuring cylinder. Holes are punched by using suitable kind of puncher at the base of the milk cane. Cane is then carefully removed from the soil together with soil sample which occupied the volume of the cane.5 Determination of Air Content of Soil Purpose: To determination the air content in the soil sample Apparatus: .Empty milk cane .Measuring cylinder .Puncher Materials: . 5.

(V+V) = 1240cm Percentage of air content in the soil sample = (V+V)-V x 100 A = (640+640)-920 x 100 600 =53.30% Discussion 1. 45 . 2. V =640cm Volume of water and soil sample mixture.Result From the weight readings obtained. the percentage of air content in soil sample can be calculated as follows:Volume of milk cane. Water is used to occupy the soil part that contains air. V =600cm Volume of the soil sample. Holes are made in the surface of the milk cane to let the flow of air in the soil sample going as usual. Precaution Steps 1.V =920cm Volume of air contain in the soil sample. this will force the soil sample to release air content in it. 3. Make sure that the milk cane is pushed into the soil before dig out the soil that the exact percentage of air in the soil sample can be calculated.30%. Conclusion • The percentage of air content in the soil sample is 53. The milk cane is pushed into the soil in order to get the exact percentage of air content of the soil sample.(a) =600cm Volume of water used.

which cause problems for agriculture in arid areas. Soils usually have a ph range between 3. The ph of a soil will often determine whether certain plants can be grown successfully. on the other hand. However. In agriculture. such that catena also describes a concept useful in the interpretation of soil-landscape relationships in all environments. for example. In arid environments. and land-use history.0 and 10. require acidic soils with a ph of roughly 4 to 4. Scientists consider pure water. Plant nutrients are less available at either extreme of the ph scale. a catena also arises due to effects of gravity. as these are held in solution in the soil water. On horizontal soils. while in desert regions. A soil solution occurs when any soluble constituents of soil are dissolved in the soil water.6 Soil pH What is Soil PH ? An additional important chemical measure is soil ph which refers to the soil’s acidity or alkalinity. meaning greater acidity. However. Soluble slats will then be precipitated in the upper soil horizons.5. Values above 7. In humid regions. neutral. farmers add limestone to acid soil to neutralize them. This provides the mechanism by which plants uptake nutrients.0 are alkaline (basic) which values below 7. require a neutral or slightly alkaline soil. such as the clays and silts that are washed down the soil profile. movement of soil solution can also be lateral (to the sides). as other elements become available in toxic amounts. 46 . or in suspension. movement of soil solution is vertically downward.Alfalfa and many grasses. ph ranges between 5 to 7. with a ph of 7. ph ranges between 7 to 9. steepness of slope. Soil ph is an important property of soils as it is a good guide in the diagnosis of fertility problems. Soil solutions transport soil constituents from one horizon to anther either by solution if the compounds are soluble.0. The hydrogen ions held in solution can be measured using the ph scale. on slopes.0 are acidic. movement of soil solution can be upward due to intense evaporation at the very hot surface. which helps to produce a sequence of different soils on slopes known as a catena.2. This property hinges on the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution. Blueberry plants. A greater concentration of hydrogen result in a lower ph.

0. Then that test-tube is sealed with rubber. 10cm of distilled water is then added into that same test-tube. 3. which is consider as neutral and suitable for the growth and development for most the plants species. Discussion. 4. the corresponding ph values is read and recorded. With reference to colours chart. Then 1cm of Barium Sulphate is added into the same test-tube which contain soil sample. 7. 6. 1. Results  The pH value of the soil sample used is 7. 1cm of soil sample is measured and added to a test-tube by using spatula. This solution then tested with ph paper.0 47 . Conclusion  The PH value of soil sample that used in this experiment is 7. 2.6 Determination of SOIL PH Purpose: To determine the pH value of soil sample Apparatus:     Test tube Test-tube rack Spatula Pipette Materials:  Soil sample  pH paper Procedure 1. The mixture in the sealed test-tube is then shaken vigorously and contents are allowed to settle for 5 minutes. 5. Barium Sulphate is used to ensures flocculation of colloidial clay.EXPERIMENT 2.

Both organic matter and humus serve as reservoirs of plants nutrients. Therefore. These soils are tilled by soil organisms. 2400 pounds of fungi. we may refer to them as soil livestock. the soil can be viewed as a living community rather than an inert body. and the various microorganisms merit particular attention. and even small mammals in some cases. then release their stored nutrients slowly over time. 133 pounds of protozoa. not by machinery. you might wonder how native prairies and forests function in the absence of tillage and fertilizers. disease. the dark-coloured organic material in the final stages of decomposition. and insect pressure. the diversity of species and the activity of the soil biota will fluctuate as the soil environment changes. arthropods. they also help to build soil structure and provide other benefits. earthworms. Beneath the surface litter. The total number of organisms. Soil organic matter also contains dead organisms. These changes may caused by natural or imposed systems. with broad diversity of soil organisms. we need to work will the natural processes and optimize their functions to sustain our farms. There are many different types of creatures that live on or in the topsoil. Consequently. Considering the natural landscape. Native soils are covered with a layer of plant litter and/ or growing plants throughout the year. Soil-dwelling organisms release bound-up minerals. The organisms recycle nutrients again and again with the death and decay of each new generation of plants. converting them into plant-available forms that are then taken up by the plants growing on the site. 48 . Humus. is relatively stable. 890 pounds of arthropods and algae. It will produce healthy plants with minimal weed. In fact. but the fertility is used again and never leaves the site. To accomplish this. a rich complexity of soil organisms decompose plant residue and dead roots. The type of healthy living soil required to support humans now and far into the future will be balanced in nutrients and high in humus. Each has a role to play. plant matter and other organic materials in various phases of decomposition. These organisms will work for the farmer’s benefit if we simply manage for their survival. topsoil is the most biologically diverse part of the earth.The Importance of Soil Organisms Soil organisms (biota) carry out a wide range of processes that are important for the maintenance of soil health and fertility in both natural and managed agricultural soils. While a great variety of organisms contribute to soil fertility. An acre of living topsoil approximately 900 pounds of earthworms. 1500 pounds of bacteria. They are fertilized too.

Figure 3. 49 .0 The soil is teeming with organisms that cycle nutrients from soil to plant and back again.

the tillage provided by their burrows can replace some expensive tillage work done by machinery. depending on the size of the worm. and helps store more soil water for dry spells.0 Selected nutrient analyses of worm casts compared to those of the surrounding soil. Earthworms also secrete a plant growth stimulant. Soil had 4% organic matter. 50 . Worm numbers can be reduced by as much as 90% by and frequent tillage. In addition to organic matter. which may remain in place for years if not disturbed. worms also consume soil and soil microbes.000 40 140 Table 3. Worms eat dead plant material left on top of the soil and redistribute the organic matter and nutrients throughout the topsoil layer. These range from the size of a mustard seed to of a sorghum seed. Vertical earthworm burrows pipe air deeper into the soil. not just too improved soil quality. The soluble nutrient content of worm casts is considerably higher than of the original soil (Table 3. The soil clusters they expel from their digestive tracts are known as worm casts or castings. Nutrient Worm casts (Lbs/ac) Carbon 171. Worms are dormant in the hot part the summer and in the cold of winter.0). During droughts these tunnels allow for deep plant root penetration into subsoil region of higher moisture content. Nutrient-rich organic compounds line their tunnels allow. Soil (Lbs/ac) 78. Reported increases in plant growth following earthworm activity may be partially attributed to this substance. Tillage reduces earthworm population by drying the soil.000 Nitrogen 10. Earthworms thrive where there is no tillage. Tillage also destroys vertical worm burrows and can kill cut up the worms themselves. Generally.500 7. stimulating in high numbers. the less tillage are the better and the shallower the tillage the better.Earthworms Earthworm burrows enhance water infiltration and soil aeration.720 Phosphorus 280 Potassium 900 From Graff. This reduces water runoff.000 pounds of topsoil per year-with turnover as high as 200 tons per acre having been reported in some exceptional cases.A good population of earthworms can process 20. burying the plant residue they feed on and making the soil more likely to freeze. recharges groundwater. Fields that is ‘tilled’ by earthworm tunnelling can absorb water at a rate 4 to 10 times that of fields lacking worm tunnels.

01 Effect of crop management on earthworm population As a rule. worms want their food on top. earthworm numbers can be increased by reducing eliminating tillage (especially fall tillage). adding animal manure and growing green manure crops. Generally speaking. Some insecticides in the organophosphate family are mildly toxic to earthworms. and plenty of plant residues on the soil surface. It is beneficial to leave as much surface residue as possible year-round. Col season grass rotationally grazed is highest because it provides an undisturbed (no-tillage) environment plus abundant organic matter from the grass roots and fallen grass litter. Sevin and Temik. worm-season perennial grass grazed rotationally. Most herbicides have little effect on worms expect for the triazines. 51 . which are moderately toxic. Carbamate insecticides. including Furadan. Table 3. They are sensitive to certain pesticides and some incorporated fertlizers. Cropping system that typically have the most earthworms are (in descending order) perennial cool-season grass grazed rotationally. such as Atrazine. while synthetic pyrethroids are harmless to them. are harmful to earthworms. moist soil condition. Ride-till and strip tillage will generally have more earthworms than clean tillage involving plowing and disking. Also. Crop Corn Corn Soybean Soybean Bluegrass/clover Dairy pasture From Kladivko. reducing residue particle size (using a straw chopper on the combine). Management Plow No-till Plow No-till ----Worms/foot2 1 2 6 14 39 33 Table 3. High rates of ammonium-based fertilizers are soil also harmful. Earthworms prefer a near-neutral soil ph. and they want to be left alone. and annual croplands using no-till. not using a mouldboard plow.01 shows the effect of tillage and cropping practices on earthworm numbers. notes worm biologist Clive Edwards of Ohio State University. anhydrous ammonia kills earthworms in the injection zone because it dries the soil temporarily increases the ph there.Young worms emerge in spring and fall-they are most active when farmers are likely to be tilling the soil.

depending on certain soil condition. Some members of this group prey on smaller soil organisms. millipedes. Bacteria are responsible for converting nitrogen from ammonium to nitrate and back again. fighting root diseases and detoxifying soil.slugs. snails and springtails. phosphorus and trace elements from organic matter. A few species of bacteria fix nitrogen in the roots of legumes. while other fix nitrogen independent of plant association. Bacteria Bacteria are the most numerous type of soil organisms : Every gram of soil contains at least a million of these tint one-celled organisms. Their role is to eat shred the large particles of plant and animal residues. sizes and shapes in soil. There are even species of fungi that trap harmful plant-parasitic nematodes. Still other species make release plant growth hormones.Arthropods In addition to earthworms. while others are one-celled yeasts. Slime molds and mushrooms are also fungi. There are many different species of bacteria. while others produce antibiotics including penicllin. phosphorus. Other benefits to plants provided by various species of bacteria include increasing the solubility of nutrients. Several species of bacteria transform nitrogen from a gas in the air to forms available for plant use and from these forms back to a gas again. Many aid plants by breaking down organic matter or by releasing nutrients from soil minerals. Also of interest are dung beetles. release potassium. Some bury residue. Some species release nitrogen. there are many other species of soil organisms that can be seen by the naked eye. There are the primary decomposers. Some species appear as thread-like colonies. which stimulate root growth. Their waste is rich in plant nutrients released after other fungi and bacteria decompose it. Among them are sowbugs. Some fungi produce plant hormones. Other break down soil mineral. Fungi Fungi come in many different species. each with its own role in the soil environment. improving soil structure. calcium and iron. One of the major benefits bacteria provide for plants is in making nutrients available to them. 52 . which play a valuable in recycling manure and reducing livestock intestinal parasites and flies. centipedes. sulphur. magnesium. bringing it into contact with other soil organisms that further decompose it. Fungi are generally quick to colonize larger pieces of organic matter and begin the decomposition process. The springtail are small insects that eat mostly fungi.

Nematodes Nematodes are abundant in most soils. They also produce antibiotics to fight disease of roots. algae produce their own food thought photosynthesis. they help decompose organic matter into humus. The fungi benefit by taking nutrients and carbohydrates from the plant roots they live in. Actinomycetes are responsible for the sweet. nematodes speed the rate of nutrient cycling. They are particularly important in degraded or less fertile soils. Unlike most other soil organisms.The mycorrhizae (my-cor-ry’-zee) are fungi that live either on or in plant roots and act to extend the reach of root hairs into the soil. They appear as a greenish film on the soil surface following a saturating rain. earthy smell noticed whenever a biologically active soil is tilled. protozoa and other nematodes. since the pest cannot pierce the thick fungal network. The harmless species eat decaying plant litter. Algae Many different species of algae live in the upper half-inch of the soil. 53 . Like other soil predators. they too perform vital roles in the soil. Many of these same antibiotics are used to treat human disease. Like the bacteria. bacteria. and only a few species are harmful to plants. Roots colonized by mycorrhizae are less likely to be penetrated by rootfeeding nematodes. One of the most common is an amoeba that eats bacteria. fungi. Actinomycetes Actinomycetes (ac-tin-o-my’-cetes) are thread-like bacteria that look like fungi. some of which is later released to plant roots. Protozoa Protozoa are free-living micro-organisms that crawl or swim in the water between soil particles. Some species of algae (the blue-greens) can fix their own nitrogen. releasing nutrients. Mycorrhizae also produce hormones and antibiotics that enhance root growth and provide disease suppression. Mycorrhizae increase the uptake of water and nutrients. algae. making it more available to plants. Many soil protozoa are predatory eating other microbes. especially phosphorus. Algae improve soil structure by producing slimy substance that glue soil together into water-stable aggregates. By eating and digesting bacteria. protozoa speed up the cycling of nitrogen from the bacteria. While not as numerous as bacteria.

Because we cannot see most of the creatures living in the soil and may not take time to observe the ones we can see. 54 . Research on life in the soil has determined that there are ideal ratios for certain key organisms in highly productive soils. it is easy to forget about them. Their goal is to alter the makeup of the soil microbial community so it resembles that of a highly fertile and productive soil. Organisms Bacteria Actinomycetes Molds Algae Protozoa Nematodes Insects Worms Plant roots From Bollen. tests soils and makes fertility recommendations that are based on this understanding. There are several different ways to accomplish this goal depending on the situation.Soil Organisms and Soil Quality All these organisms. antibiotics. The Soil Foodweb Lab. These substances serve as food for select organism. See Table 3. Some scientists and practitioners theorize that plants use this means to stimulate the specific population of micro-organisms capable of releasing or otherwise producing the kind of nutrition needed by the plants. amino acids.02 for estimates of typical amounts of various organisms found in fertile soil. gums and waxes. Organisms not directly involved in the other substances they release. located in Oregon.interact with one another in a multitude of way in the soil ecosystem. Pounds of live weight/acre 1000 1000 2000 100 200 50 100 1000 2000 Table 3.02 Weights of soil organisms in the top 7 inches of fertile soil. Roots can also release into the soil various substance that stimulate soil microbes. Among the substances released by the various microbes are vitamins. sugars.from the tiny bacteria up to the earthworm and insects.

but provide nutrients for non-symbiotic organisms. root residues and increased nutrient levels from fertility. the majority of insecticides are applied to plants rather than to the soil. The effect on non-target organisms will depend on whether the product is applied to the bare soil. this will also influence the soil biological activity. No-till/direct-drill system result in significant differences in soil organism activity compared to conventional tillage. This is usually a short term effect with levels recovering 20 days after herbicide application. Herbicides. Continued use of some herbicides.How does Agriculture Influence Soil Biota Activity ? Any factor that changes the soil environment will impact on the activity and diversity of soil biota. such as fertilisers have been shown to have both a positive and negative effect on soil biological activity. chemical and biological components of the soil system. insecticides and fungicides may be directly toxic to soil organisms or influence the ‘predator-prey’ interactions. Consequently. Different soil environments support different types and numbers of biota. High levels of nitrogen or phosphorus reduce the impact of the symbiotic fixing of these nutrients by Rhizobium (nitrogen) and mycorrhiza (phosphorus). Agricultural production can result in increased soil carbon inputs from retained crop residues. nitrogen ratio C:N ratio. However. as they are designed to kill fauna. Herbicides applied to stubble cover. Different plant residues will contain varying quantities and availability of carbon (energy). example paraquat. Where organic matter declines. rate of herbicide decomposition and leaching away from the site of the organisms. as opposed to bare soil. Agricultural inputs. Nitrifying bacteria are the most sensitive to herbicide application. 55 . Cultivation alters the physical. These increase biological activity. have been shown to persist longer. biological activity will also decline. has been shown to significantly depress some groups of micro-organisms. example soils under a legume have a higher lever of rhizobia which fix nitrogen for that legume. the more readily it is broken down. The impact of insecticides on soil biota is more questionable than herbicides. after a canola crop soil will have a lower level of root disease fungi because of the fungicidal compounds released by the decomposing canola residues.

New products. disease resistance. 56 . The frequency of use will also change the balance of the food-web favoring organisms that are able to live by breaking down the chemical residues. structure and stability and long term productivity.e nutrient status. The challenge for agriculture is to minimize nutrient losses and to maximize internal nutrient cycling. A decline in the total and specific population size is considered detrimental to soil health i.Similarly the concentration of fungicides is generally low in the soil. example Impact(?) in furrow change this and more research is required to observe the long term impact on the food-web. Agricultural practices usually alter more than one soil environmental factor making it difficult to isolate which change is the most significant.

2.1 Extraction of Soil ORGANISMS USING Tullgren Funnel Purpose: To extract soil organisms using Tullgren Funnel Apparatus:      Tullgren Funnel Beaker Hand lens Retort stand with its clamps 60W light source Materials:  4% formalin solution  soil sample Procedure: 1. The soil organism that found in the formalin solution the beaker is then identified and recorded in the table 3. 57 .10. Soil sample is collected around the roots part of the plants Tullgren Funnel is arranged as shown in the figure 3. 50ml of 4% formalin solution is then poured into the beaker and the beaker is then placed directly below the funnel. This unit is placed in a place which will not be disturbed. The soil sample is then gently placed on the mesh screen inside the Tullgren Funnel. 7. 60W light source which are placed above the funnel are then turned on. Leave the unit for 2 days before the formalin in the beaker is examined for any trace of organism.10. 4. 3. 5.EXPERIMENT 3. 6.

10 Tullgren Funnel arrangement 58 .Figure 3.

10 Types of soil Organism Extracted by using Tullgren Funnel.) Phylum arthropodo Class Diplopoda Milipede (Lulus sp. 59 .Result Type of Organism Common Name Appearances Phylum arthropodo Class Insecta Ant Phylum annelida Class Oligochaetae Earthworm (Pheretima sp.) Table 3.

Discussion 1. 3. 2. Humus is known as common nutrient of soil organism. These 3 factor forces the soil organism leave the soil sample and they eventually fall into the beaker which contain formalin solution. Broken up soil sample will increases the surface area that exposed to the light and heat. Not all soil found contain soil organism inside it. earthworm and millipedes. high temperature and low moisture. This makes the movement of slow-moving organism a lot easier. dark and wet places as their habitat. Other than that most of the soil organism prefers cold. Conclusion  Type of organism that extracted from the soil sample by using Tullgren Funnel are known as macrofauna which is fairly large soil organism including ants. The Tullgren Funnel technique is based on the negative responses of the soil organism towards bright light. Suggested that the soil sample from the fertile land which has excess of humus is suitable to be studied in this experiment. 60 . which means soil sample also can be taken from the land part which is shaded from the direct sun light besides over the plants roots which supply sufficient nutrient for soil organism. Getting soil sample which contain sufficient amount of soil organism to be studied is almost hard to do.

Soil sample that wrapped with muslin bag is then placed inside the filter funnel which is filled with water. These slide then placed under the light microscope. 11.EXPERIMENT 3. 2. Apparatus of the Bearmann funnel is prepared as show in the figure 3. Rubber tubing is attached to the funnel stem and the end of the tube is blocked with screw clamps.a small drop of water is place over the microscope slide and the cover slip is carefully placed at the water drop. This unit is left untouched for 12 hour. The clamps at the bottom of the tubing are open in order to drawn small volume of water into a beaker. More water is add to the funnel until the soil sample that wrapped with muslin bas is just barely submerged. Using the dropper. The clamps at bottom of the tubing are close before the funnel is filled with water. 6.2 Extraction of Soil Organism using Bearmann Funnel Purpose :To extract soil organisms using Bearmann Funnel Apparatus: *Beaker *Muslin bag *Rubber tubing *Filter funnel *Light microscope *Retort stand with its clamps *60 W light source *Microscope slides *Dropper *Screw clamps Materials: *4 % formalin solution *Soil sample *Water Procedure: 1. 10.20. Soil sample which taken from appropriate type of land is wrapped with the muslin bag and tied up with the length of rope. 9. 60 W of light source which placed at the top of the filter funnel is turned on. 3. 8.Each organism is identified and recorded. 4. 61 . The funnel is supported with the help of retort stand. 5. The height of the clamps which holds the filter funnel is adjusted in order the tubing hangs free. any present of soil organism is observed. The rope is determined to be longer than the diameter of the funnel. 7.

20 Bearmann Funnel arrangement 62 .Figure 3.

Table 3.Results Type Of Organism Kingdom Animalia Phylum arthropodo (Class Insect) Common Name Larva (Addis fly) Appearances Kingdom Animalia Phylum nematode Nematode Kingdom Prototista Phylum rhizophoda Amoeba sp. Kingdom Prototista Phylum ciliophora Paramecium sp.20 Types of soil Organism Extracted by using Bearmann Funnel 63 .

The higher temperature and light intensity in the upper layer when compare to the bases of the funnel. causes these aquatic soil organism to leave the soil sample and gather at the stem of the funnel. 2. Paramecium sp. Precaution Steps *The rubber tubing to the funnel is must be tight fit to prevent any leakage.these soil organism fall into the beaker containing formalin and can be identified. Are denser that water. Conclusion *Type of organism that extracted from the soil sample by using Bearmann funnel are know as microfauna such as larva.Discussion 1. And nematodes.Amoeba sp. The soil sample that wrapped with muslin bag is just barely submerged into the water in the funnel to allow the diffusion of oxygen into the soil sample. 64 . When the clamps are opened. This technique is based on the fact that some aquatic soil organism such as nematodes and Amoeba sp.

Density refers to the number of individuals of a species per unit area (or volume )of a specific area (habitat). The quadrat size depends on the sizes and density of the plants that need to be sampled. coverage. The simplest type of record is a list and the number of individual species bound by the quadrate. The quadrats must be large enough so that effective number can be obtained and small enough so that the individual organism can be separate. Other than that.Density can be calculated as follows: Density = Total number of individuals of a species in all quadrate Total number of quadrates X area of each quadrate Relative Density refers to the percentage of density of the species compared to the total density of all species living in the same area.relative density.relative courage.suitable quadrat shape is very important.For low plants communities. which has a specified standard sizes.coverage.It is normally stated in percentage units and calculated as follow : Coverage = Total base area or area coverage (cm2) of all quadrate x 100 % Total numbers of quadrate sampled X quadrate area Relative Coverage refers to the coverage by the species when compared to the total coverage of the entire quadrate by all species.Relative density can be calculated as follow: RelativeDensity = Density of a species x 100% Total density of all species Coverage refers to ratio of land area occupied by the vertical projection into air space for each individual species.circular quarates can be used. For efficient quadrat sampling.frequency and relative frequency of plant species can be detemine.relative coverage.number of quadrate taken systematically or at random must distribute all over a specific area so that composition of a community can be determined quantitatively.relative density. Relative coverage can be calculated as 65 .0 Community Analysis using the Quadrat Sampling Technique Quadrats refer to a community patch especially of plants.4. By using quadrate sampling technique density.In this technique.square quadrats which are made from metal or stakes on the ground surrounded by string also can be used.bound by the four sides of a square or a circle.

follow : Relative Coverage = Coverage by a species x 100 % Total coverage by all species Frequency which refers to the degree of dispersion of each species in a specific area I stated in percentage units and can be calculated as follow : Frequency = Number of quadrates containing the species x 100 % Total number of quadrate Relative Frequency. SHAPE OF QUADRAT 66 .is stated in percentage units and calculated as follow: Relative Frequency = Frequency value of the species x 100 % Total frequency value of all species The data obtained from quadrats sampling the must be recorded in suitable tables to facilitate our study and analysis.which refers to the frequency value of the species compared to the total frequency value of all species.

67 . a very time consuming method.) For aquatic macrophytes a wood or plastic frame will float and also can be used for emergent vegetation on the water surface or sample of floating. it can touch several plants. A “hit” is recorded with the species name every time when the point of the needle touches the plant. By using-radius string.It is a wooden pole and place in the center. glued. circular.oval. rectangular. strips of wood. Point sampling method is a method that only can give an accurate estimate of absolute cover of each species in multi-stratose vegetation and hence an estimate of total leaf area species. or rigid plastic which are tied.The resulting index of dispersion and the spatial pattern obtained depends on quadrat size and shape. the size and shape of quadrat must always decide. welded or bolted together in a square. Before the needles eventually touch the round surface. Shape or it can simply be stakes and surrounded by a string on the ground. It is however. (b) Circular quadrat: This quadrat is used for the place where have low plant community. (c) Rectangular quadrat: This quadrat can enables a ore effective and also can accurate analysis of the composition at a community if compared to the usage of same number of square quadrats which are having the same size as the rectangular quadrat. (c) effectiveness of sampling. Set up the frame over the vegetation and lowered down the needles through the plant canopy.Quadrat is not natural sampling units. (This is used within habitats such as scrub areas or woodlands. Quadrat strictly means a four-sided figurebut in practice mean any sampling unit. whether square.(From measuring tape) of various length a circular quadrat of different size can be set up quickly and easily. (d) Point quadrat: The uses of a point frame are to obtain the point samples for estimate cover and it is a device. Chosen the shape of quadrat is important from the aspects of: (a) convenience in laying down the frame of quadrat (b) convenience in setting up the plots. hexagonal. where it is not possible to physically lay quadrat frames down because tree trunksand shrubs get in the way. All other method gives relative percentage cover.or even irregular in outline some of the common shapes of quadrat are: (a) Square quadrat: The frame are made from metal (iron or aluminium).

relative species density 68 .(c) Rectangular quadrat Figure 4.10 Shape of Quadrates EXPERIMENT 4.1 Quadrate Sampling Techniques Purpose: To determine the percentage of the relative species cover.

9. Chia Meng. 3.our class is divided into ten groups so that we can out quadrat sampling technique in ten different locations at same time. Procedure 1. Quadrat size is determined so that more eight species of plants can be studied. 4. Analysis Student’s name : Muhamad. 2. Then.a sturdier quadrat can be made using four pieces of PVC pipe and four elbow joints to connect them. Chin Tat. Therefore. The percentage of relative density and relative coverage is also calculated. A location is randomly chosen to place the quadrat within the area of school. Apparatus: Quadrate measuring 1 m2 Preparation 1. 8. It would be waste of time and energy for each group to conduct the quadrat sampling technique in ten different locations. 5. Quadrate in the same measuring are prepared to be used in the various determined location. 2. The number of quadrat in which a species occur is calculated to determine the frequency of the plants species.1 m is tide.And relative species frequency in a habitat. 6.a thread on the quadrat for ever 0. Each of the groups has to make a square quadrat. The overall species of plants in every quadrate is calculated and written in an appropriate table to estimate the density of plants species. Optionally. 7. Tze Tze and Yen Sheng Habitat : Field 69 .

Location : School Type of Plants : Grass Quadrat Size : 1 m2 Date : 14th December 2006 NO Name of plant species 1 Presence of plant species in quadrat. n 1 Percentage Frequency.1 3.6 7. 70 .0 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 5 2 1 50 20 10 20 10 10 50 17.1 3.6 7.10: Measurement of frequency of each plant species in quadrat sampling.7 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 7 70 25. [n/10×100%] 10 Percentage of Relative frequency (%) 3.6 3.6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rumput Kerbau (Paspalum conjugatum) Fimbristylis piphylla /Common fimbristylis Cyperus zollinger (zollinger’s cyperus) Pick-A-Back (Phyllanthus sp) Echinochloa colonum Dactyloctenium aegyptium Cyperus brevifolius Sporobolus indius Eragrostis malayana stapt Crytococoum oxyphllum √ √ √ √ 3 30 10.6 17. (put a tick (√) if present) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Number of quadrat with plant species.9 √ 2 1 √ √ √ √ √ √ 1 5 TABLE 4.

Students’names: Muhamad. Yen Shen Habitat: Grassland 71 .7 5.5 0. Tze tze.2 2.1 0.2 7.11: Measurement of density of each plant species in quadrat sampling.0 1 9 - 21 15 19 18 - 1 - 84 8.4 20.8 0.9 3.3 6.1 11 - 40 1 5 2 30 - 6 - 7 35 - 23 - 7 31 9 12 2 3 20 51 4 5 9 30 7 138 5.0 0.1 1. N 23 67 Density [N/10×1] m-2 Percentage of Relative Density (%) 2.4 0. Chin Tat.2 1.7 33.7 13.0 TABLE 4. Chia Meng.NO Name of plant species Number of individuals of plant species in quadrat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rumput Kerbau (Paspalum conjugatum) Fimbristylis piphylla /Common fimbristylis Cyperus zollinger (zollinger’s cyperus) Pick-A-Back (Phyllanthus sp) Echinochloa colonum Dactyloctenium aegyptium Cyperus brevifolius Sporobolus indius Eragrostis malayana stapt Crytococoum oxyphllum 23 18 32 17 - - - - - - - Total number of individuals of plant species in 10 quadrats.0 1.5 16.

Location / Place : SMK Telok Datok Type of plant: Grass Quadrat size: 1m2 Total number of quadrat: 10 Date : 2 November 2006

Name of plant species
NO 1

Species cover (aerial) in quadrat/m2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2

3

4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Rumput Kerbau (Paspalum conjugatum) Fimbristylis piphylla /Common fimbristylis Cyperus zollinger (zollinger’s cyperus) Pick-A-Back (Phyllanthus sp) Echinochloa colonum Dactyloctenium aegyptium Cyperus brevifolius Sporobolus indius Eragrostis malayana stapt Crytococoum oxyphllum

0.07

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total species cover for 10 quadrats, a (m2) 0.070

Percentage cover, [a/10×) ×100]% 0.70

Percentage of Relative cover (%) 2.82

0.04

0.08

0.08

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

0.200

2.00

8.05

0.06

0.10

-

0.17

0.15

0.26

0.04

-

3.50 × 10-2 0.06 0.07

-

0.815

8.15

32.81

0.05 -

4.50 × 10-2

7.40 × 10-2 6.50 × 10-2 0.05 6.50 × 10-2 -

0.09 -

0.14 0.04

-

4.50 × 10-2 -

0.13 0.10

0.07 0.26 4.50 × 10-2

0.315 0.334 0.065 0.180 0.065 0.140 0.300

3.15 3.34 0.65 1.80 0.65 1.40 3.00

12.68 13.45 2.62 7.25 2.62 5.64 12.08

TABLE 4.12: Measurement of each species cover in quadrat sampling.

Discussion 1. The plants which is not exactly in the quadrat frame (not fully inside quadrat frame) can be consider as : 72

• • 2.

Included if the plants species has its roots spreading more than half inside the quadrat (can be considered as one individual plants). Excluded if the plants species has its roots spreading more than half out of the quadrat.

But for certain types of plants species the definition of the arbitrary can be varies depends on the plants species.

Conclusion • From the analysis, Axonopus compressus is determined to have the highest density and relative density with 6.2 per m2 and 15.94% while Bruchiaria pospaloides has the lowest density with 3.0 per m2 and lowest relative density with 7.71%. From the data in the table 4.11,we can estimate that Cyperus radians have the highest frequency which is 70% and 13.73%.Plant species which have lowest frequency and relative frequency is Fimbristylis Globulosa which is 40% and 7.84%. Plants species with highest relative coverage is Axonopus Compressus with 6.2% while Plants species with relative coverage 3.0% and also considered has the lowest relative Coverage is Bruchiaria Pospaloides.

4.2 Community analysis using the transect technique. Transect refer to a line that cuts across a community in which the plant types are represent

73

By suitable symbols. Usually used in areas where there are many types of plants whish quarats sampling technique can not be used. Transect forms uniform sequential zones representing different communities. The division into zones is usually related to the uniform variation in physical factors in that habitat along the that are perpendicular to the zones.Transect can show the progressive invasion of plants into the community from one side without causing any change in that habitat. An advantage of transect charts is that they can show a range of specific plants. Charting these transect at suitable time intervals,ensure us to detect any progressive change plant area include composition, extrapolation,individual occurrence of different species.Transect can be divided to three types which is : 1.Line transects *Simplest and easiest to use. *Can be prepared by placing a measuring tape (15-30 m)along a desired line and marking the location of individual plants that touch one or both side of the tape. *These plants ate than named and given suitable symbol on one or both sides of the line drawn on a scaled paper. 2.Strip transect *A strip of uniform width,(e g: 1m)marked by the parallel measuring tapes that run across the area under study. *For large tree,strip with 5m width will needed. *Strip transect have advantage seen in both transect techniques and are specifically created to illustrate detailed changes of plants along the transect lines. 3.Profile transect *Profile or plants draw according to a specific scale to show the relative height of different plants measured from ground level. *This is based on line transect and is complementary to strip transect. *Strip transect illustrate distribute in two dimensions. *Can prepared by running a measuring tape along the length of a line transect and the measuring the heights from the ground surface must also be shown.

EXPERIMENT 4.2 Sampling Technique using Line Transect Purpose: To determine the frequency,relative frequency,coverage and relative

74

Coverage of the plants species. Apparatus: Rope (15.30 meters ) Procedure 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. A base line along the border of the area under investigation is determined. A series of points along this base line either randomly or systematically is chosen. These points are used as the starting point for this transect line to run across the area being investigated. Only the plans which toughes the line as seen vertically above or below the tansect line is recorded. 10 lines are placed randomly in the area to provide enough samples to investigate the community. Percentage cover,relative percentage and frequency of each plant species is then calculated.

Analysis Student name :

75

(put a tick (√) if present) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Number of quadrat with plant species. 76 .1 3. [n/10×100%] 10 Percentage of Relative frequency (%) 3.6 3.6 17.0 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 5 2 1 50 20 10 20 10 10 50 17.9 √ 2 1 √ √ √ √ √ √ 1 5 TABLE 4.13: Measurement of frequency of each plant species in quadrat sampling.Date : 14th December 2006 Habitat : Field Location: SMK Telok Datok Type of plants : Grass Distance of each Interval : 1m Total number of Internal : 10 Total length of Line Transect : 10 m NO Name of plant species 1 Presence of plant species in quadrat.6 7.1 3. n 1 Percentage Frequency.6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rumput Kerbau (Paspalum conjugatum) Fimbristylis piphylla /Common fimbristylis Cyperus zollinger (zollinger’s cyperus) Pick-A-Back (Phyllanthus sp) Echinochloa colonum Dactyloctenium aegyptium Cyperus brevifolius Sporobolus indius Eragrostis malayana stapt Crytococoum oxyphllum √ √ √ √ 3 30 10.7 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 7 70 25.6 7.

334 0.08 0.15 0. 77 .04 0.62 7.070 Percentage cover.50 × 10-2 0.07 - - - - - - - - - Total species cover for 10 quadrats.065 0.07 - 0.70 Percentage of Relative cover (%) 2.17 0.81 0.815 8.06 0.50 × 10-2 0.65 1. While.15 32.00 8.04 - 3.80 0.08 - - - - - - - 0.50 × 10-2 7.10 - 0.50 × 10-2 - 0.64 12.300 3.68 13.13 0.62 5.34 0.09 - 0.Name of plant species NO 1 Species cover (aerial) in quadrat/m2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rumput Kerbau (Paspalum conjugatum) Fimbristylis piphylla /Common fimbristylis Cyperus zollinger (zollinger’s cyperus) Pick-A-Back (Phyllanthus sp) Echinochloa colonum Dactyloctenium aegyptium Cyperus brevifolius Sporobolus indius Eragrostis malayana stapt Crytococoum oxyphllum 0.10 0.25 2.14: Measurement of each species cover in quadrat sampling.40 3.26 0.50 × 10-2 - 0.45 2.65 1. And the plant species with lowest percentage of coverage is Eleusine indica.06 0.26 4. The plant species which have the lowest frequency is identified as Cleome icosandra.180 0.07 0.08 TABLE 4.315 0.00 12.065 0.14 0.200 2. Conculsion • • • • The plant species which have the highest frequency is identified as Cyperus aromaticus.15 3.05 6. [a/10×) ×100]% 0.82 0.05 0.50 × 10-2 0.140 0.the plant species with the highest percentage of coverage is Cyperus aromaticus.04 - 4.40 × 10-2 6.05 - 4. a (m2) 0.

The end result of adding a ton of residue would be 400 to 700 pounds of new humus.000 pounds per acre. Increasing oxygen speeds decomposition of organic matter. Increased aeration caused by tillage coupled with the absence of organic carbon in fertilizer materials has caused more than a 50 %decline in native humus levels an many U. with out the addition of carbon. It is more feasible to stabilize and maintain he humus present. All these factors work together all the time. temperature. work hard to preserve what you have. One percent organic matter weighs 20. Moisture content affects decomposition rates. and the trace elements should be present. magnesium. and the rest becomes ‘new’ humus. Adding organic matter provides more food for microbes. soil organisms are profoundly affected by temperature. Their activity is highest within a band of optimum temperature. If your soils are high in humus now. Let’s take them one at a time. nitrogen content. The primary factors affecting organic matter content. Building organic matter is a slow process. The value of humus is not fully realized until it is severely depleted.Conclusion Soil management involves stewardship of the soil herd. These are the factor that affect the health and reproductive rate of organic matter decomposer organisms. additions must be higher than removals. 78 . moisture content. before it is lost. The formation of new humus is essential to maintaining old humus. and the addition and removal of organic materials. than to try to rebuild it. Over a given year. their activity diminishes. Any one can limit the others. Tillage is the primary way Extra oxygen enters the soil.S farms. but no in excess. as the soil dries out. and decomposition rate in soils are oxygen content. It takes decades for new humus to develop into stable humus. above and below which their activity diminished. Just like humans. build-up. potassium. 60 to 70 percent of the carbon contained in organic residues added to soil is lost as carbon dioxide. Five to ten percent is assimilated into the organisms that decomposer the organic residues. Nitrogen content is influenced by fertilizer additions. phosphorus. under average conditions. which imparts the nutrientHolding characteristic humus is know for. After the soil becomes dry. sodium. Soil microbial populations are most active over cycles of wetting and drying. To achieve an increase of soil organic matter. Their populations increase following wetting. with sandy soils having more aeration that heavy clay soils. Adequate levels of calcium. A 7-inch depth of topsoil over an are weighs 2 million pounds. any benefits of its own. and the decomposition of raw organic matter has. Managers need to be aware of these factors when making decisions about their soils. Appropriate mineral nutrition needs to be present for soil organisms and plants to prosper. Excess nitrogen. speeds the decomposition of the organic matter. Texture also plays a role.

Tillage for production of annual crops not created most of the erosion associated with agriculture. Some appear harmless to soil livestock and provide nutrients at times of high nutrient demand from crops.The base saturation theory of soil management helps guide decision-making toward achieving optimum levels of these nutrients in the soil. Potassium chloride has a high salt index. Many irrigation scheduling consultants are using these different methods. however. The increase in bacteria. erosion may go unnoticed. water savings. It is not easy to see the effects of erosion over a human lifetime. mulch. Any time the soil is tilled and left bare it is susceptible to erosion. fed by highly available nitrogen from the anhydrous. Several books have been written on balancing soil mineral levels. 79 . and maintenance requirement discussed. Some are extremely simple and are well worth the investment of time and labor. The cost of keeping track of the soil water on your own or by using a service can be paid back through the benefits of effective water management. therefore. water quality improvement. and several consulting firms provide soil analysis and fertility recommendation services based on this theory. Perennial grain crops not requiring tillage provide a promising alternative for drastically improving the sustainability of future grain production. Understanding soil water holding capacity and the factors affecting the plant available soil water are necessary for good irrigation management. or crop residue for as much of the annual season as possible achieves the goal of sustaining the soil resource. Several different techniques are available which can be used to effectively monitor or directly measure soil water content. Bacteria and Actinomycetes recover within a few weeks. Information is readily available from Cooperative Extension and the Soil Conservation Service to help growers assess the conditions specific to their own fields and crops. and some plants and soil organisms are sensitive to chloride. speeds the decomposition of organic matter. Topsoil is the farmer’s capital. and quite often improved crop quality and yields. Commercial fertilizers have their place in sustainable agriculture. anhydrous kills soil organisms in the injection zone. Included among these benefits are energy saving. As noted above. Maintaining ground cover in the form of cover crops. Sustaining agriculture means sustaining the soil. Even small amounts of soil erosion are harmful over time. operation. Soil type and irrigation regime are important parameters affecting the choice of a method or technique which will yield the best results. Anhyrous ammonia and potassium chloride cause problems. Successful implementation of any of the methods evaluated requires careful attention installation. but fungi take longer.

These include pollution from agriculture pesticides. such as grassland and forested areas. Loss of green spaces. And the replacement of soil with concrete and buildings all reduce the capacity of the soil to fulfill this need. Soil is also compact by heavy machinery and off-road vehicles. With the world’s population now numbering upwards of 6 billion people-a figure that may rise to 10 billion or more within three decades –humans will depend more than ever on soil for the growth of the food crops. overgrazing by livestock and agricultural practices that fail to conserve soil are three main cause of accelerated soil loss. in favor of impermeable surfaces. Sub area within fields having different soil textures or other characteristics should also be monitored. Yet the rapidly increasing population. The difference in soil water content at a given location from one sampling time to the next often provides more information than random space and time measurements. As a result of an increased awareness of soil’s importance may changes are being made to protect soil. Other acts of human carelessness also damage soil. preventing water movement into the soil increasing runoff erosion. Deforestation. liquid and soil wastes and acidification from the fall of acid rain. Crusts form on compacted soils. the intensity of agriculture. chemical spills. Soil faces many threats throughout the world. 80 . such as pavement. reduces the amount of soil and increase pressure an what soil remains. Compaction rearranges soil particles. buildings.A routine sampling schedule should be implement to obtain the most information from any these methods. and developed land. Recent interest in soil conservation holds the promise that humanity will take better care of this precious resource. Soil water should be measured or monitored in at least two depths in the expected crop root zone at several locations in a field to obtain a field average. increasing the density of the soil and reducing porosity.

The soil should be covered to protect it form erosion and temperature extremes. To build soil organic matter. Tillage speeds the decomposition of organic matter. and increase erosion. 81 . Excess nitrogen speeds the decomposition of organic matter. the production or addition of organic matter must exceed the decomposition of organic matter. Moldboard plowing speeds the decomposition of organic matter. insufficient nitrogen slows down organic matter decomposition and starves plants. destroys earthworm habitat. Organic matter is the food for the soil livestock herd. Soil fertility levels need to be within acceptable ranges before a soil-building program is begun.Summary of Sustainable Soil Management Principles • • • • • • • • Soil livestock cycle nutrients and provide many other benefits.

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