Soil

Topics: Soil, Weathering, Erosion Pages: 7 (1709 words) Published: November 16, 2014


SOIL EROSION

Janeen Uy
I BS MANAGEMENT
ES 10 J

Submitted to: Dr. Severino Salmo III
March 8, 2012

Soil is found on the Earth's crust and formed through weathering and decay of organisms. It may be considered dirt to a lot of people but it is highly an important tool for our survival. The soil holds the roots of the plants where nutrients are stored. It is important since it enables the soil to store and regulate the flow of water, filters the pollutants and improves the soil's quality for sufficient plant growth. The soil is composed of four elements namely, the mineral particles, organic matter, water and air (See Figure 1). Humus, an organic matter, composes the upper layers of the soil and gives it a dark color. It provides the plants with nutrition since it is the primary sources of carbon and nitrogen in the soil composition and it also increases the water and mineral holding capacity of the soil.

Figure 1 The Composition of a Soil
The formation of soil, like growing a tree, takes time but it could be destructed easily thus, soil must be conserved and not be taken for granted. It can take about a thousand years for the weathered rocks and minerals to entirely break down and mixed with organic matter, creating a thin layer of soil. The breaking down of rocks or weathering has two types: chemical and physical weathering. With chemical weathering, the rock material may change after a period of time into a softer material through the decomposition of rocks whereas physical weathering is the disintegration of minerals due to temperature affected factors. In the Philippines, chemical weathering could usually be seen with the formation of soil because of our tropical conditions.

The properties of soil could determine the solubility and availability of minerals and what plants could grow in that particular soil. The first property would be the texture of the soil. This refers to the amount of nutrients available in the soil. There are three main classes namely, sand, silt and clay. Sand are relatively large and coarse particles while silt have medium sized particles whereas clay is the smallest which is approximately less than 0.002 millimeters in size. The clay type of soil is the most important because despite the small size, they have a very large surface area that enable them to attract and hold nutrient ions needed to provide nutrients for the roots of the plants. A heterogeneous mixture of all the soil textures mentioned is considered to be a better solution for plant growth since it provides the soil with enough nutrients and water from a good structural support. Another property would be the soil profile. The soil could be identified as an immature soil, a young soil and a mature soil. The immature soil has limited or no vegetation at all whereas the young soil is still under the process of development and the mature soil would be a fully developed soil.

Some necessary soil nutrients needed are potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Phosphorus is required for seed and root development; potassium for the stem development of a plant and nitrogen is needed for the cell and leaf formation and for the vegetation growth. The soil pH has to be determined in order to know which plants can grow in specific areas of soil based on the solubility and availability of nutrients.

Plants play a vital role in the development of soil. Plants attract animals and when the animals die, their bodies decay, and the decaying matter contributes to the soil’s nutrients by making it thick and rich. The decomposition of plants by the soil microorganisms forms humus, which contributes to the soil composition as well. The roots of the plants also hold the soil in place and lessen the chance of erosion through run-off. In return, the soil supports the plant by providing it the nutrients and essential minerals it needs.

However as a consequence of the increasing population, there is a...
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