LAND AND SOIL MANAGEMENT

AGR3LS

2018

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject covers chemical, physical and biological aspects of soil and uses a field study of lime plotsĀ at the university farm to illustrate concepts. The importance of nutrient recycling and carbon dynamics in sustainable land use, and their impacts on the environment are studied. Management of land degradation including soil acidification, subsoil constraints and soil contamination is also an important component.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorCaixian Tang

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites AGR2ILM, AGR2ILS or AGR2SS

Co-requisitesN/A

Incompatible subjects AGR3LSM, AGR3SS

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Readings

Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsScientific writing = Thinking in wordsRecommendedDavid LindsayCSIRO Publishing
ReadingsSoils: Their properties and managementRecommendedCharman PEV and Murphy BW 20073RD EDN, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
ReadingsThe nature and properties of soilsRecommendedBrady, NC and Weil, RR 2016Global EDN, PEARSON PRENTICE HALL.

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Conduct a 10-week study on the effects of lime on soil properties and plant growth and involve soil/plant measurements and analysis and field observations.

Activities:
In lectures, students will be instructed in major soil properties and their measurements, the importance of nutrient recycling and carbon dynamics in sustainable land use, and their impacts on the environment, land degradation and management. Students will be instructed in sources of variation in soil with depth and across the field and how these affect soil sampling procedures, plant growth and land-use. In laboratory classes, students will measure major properties of soils sampled from the lime plots and link these measurements with management of soil acidity in regular lab reports. Results of the study are presented in a group paper.

02. Work in a team to conduct the lime project and give a group oral presentation of the results and write a group scientific paper about the study.

Activities:
Students are allocated to groups and given instruction on group/team dynamics. The skills required for a group oral presentation are outlined. Ability to work as a team is indicated by the cohesiveness of the oral presentation and the group scientific paper and, students peer review each team member.

03. Explain the development and variation of soil properties (chemical, subsoil constraints, acidity, salinity) and processes (nutrient cycling, carbon dynamics, water-logging) and their management in farming systems/sustainable land use, in laboratory reports, the lime project report and in essay style exam questions.

Activities:
In lectures, students will be instructed in major soil properties and their measurements, the importance of nutrient recycling and carbon dynamics in sustainable land use, and their impacts on the environment, land degradation and management. Students will also be instructed in contemporary land degradation issues, and the relevance to plant growth and agricultural production. These concepts will be further explored in the lime project and scientific writing.

04. Compute basic mathematical calculations and prepare graphic presentations of soil testing for laboratory reports.

Activities:
Lectures and laboratory classes. In lectures, students will be instructed in a) the needs of plant growth as provided by soil, and b) nutrient cycles and assessment of nutrient availability, and their relevance to agriculture and the environment. These concepts will be reinforced in laboratory classes.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2018, Semester 2, Day

Overview

Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorCaixian Tang

Class requirements

Lecture Week: 31 - 43
Three 1.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Practical Week: 31 - 43
One 3.0 hours practical per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Computer Laboratory Week: 31 - 43
One 3.0 hours computer laboratory per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Assessments

Assessment elementComments% ILO*
2 hour end-of-semester exam50 01, 03
Contribution to a scientific paper discussion session (in groups) (150 word equiv)In-class assignment3 03
Four laboratory reports (250 words each)Individual written submissions.24 01, 04
One group oral presentation on lime project (400 word equiv)Marks for teamwork are included in this component.8 02
One group scientific paper on lime project (800 words)Students may write and sumit the paper individually.15 01, 02