Soils and Land Use Learning Objectives

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For successful completion of the soils/ land use section, contestants should be able to:

  • Know the five soil forming factors, and understand how they influence soil properties.
  • Understand the origin and types of soil parent materials and land forms.
  • Understand basic soil forming processes: additions, losses, translocations, and transformations.
  • Recognize and understand features of Soil Profiles, and be able to use this information to determine basic soil properties and limitations.
  • Identify and describe soil characteristics (texture, structure, and color- using Munsell color charts).
  • Understand soil biological diversity and how it relates to soil health and hence plant, human and environmental health. Recognize that understanding soil ecosystems is important to soil management.
  • Understand how the hydrologic, carbon and nutrient cycles relate to soil management.
  • Understand that soil fertility relates to the physical and chemical properties of the soil in addition to the quantity of nutrients.
  • Understand why soil fertility reflects the physical, chemical and biological state of the soil.
  • Compare different land uses and conservation practices and their impact on soils and erosion.
  • Understand how soil is impacted by point & non-point source pollution and practices used to address, reduce or eliminate the impact.
  • Access and use published and on-line soil data and other resources to learn how land use affects soil, and the limitations of local soils.
  • Understand Land Capability Classes and how they are important in determining appropriate land use.
  • Understand soil drainage classes and be able to recognize the characteristics of hydric soils and know how soils fit into the definition of wetlands.