Module Identifier BS13710  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr John Scullion  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Malcolm H Leitch  
Pre-Requisite Normally A or AS level Biology or its equivalent  
Course delivery Lecture   18 x 1h lectures  
  Practical   2 x 2h practicals  
  Other   1 x 3h field trip  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  70%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment of practicals. To be handed in first week of term 2.30%
Supplementary Assessment2 Hours written examination; re-submission of failed or missing course work or alternative (as determined by the exam board).100%

Learning outcomes

On completing the module students should be able to


This module describes soil properties - physical, chemical and biological - and relates these properties to practical soil management. There is an emphasis on agricultural land use with consideration of both production and environmental issues. Other land uses are considered as appropriate.
The lecture course opens with a consideration of soil physical and chemical processes, describing their implications for soil management and plant growth.
Soil constituents and physical properties covered include particle size distribution; organisation of soil particles and creation of pore space; variations in soil texture, structure and their effects on aeration/water supply; processes leading to the development of structure in soils; soil water content, conductivity and moisture potentials; temperature and heat fluxes in soils. The soil nutrient and fertility section covers soil acidity and liming; major nutrient cycles, the assessment of nutrient availability; principles of using manures and fertilisers; nutrient losses and their environmental impact.
Soil management topics covered include the management of soil water to optimise plant growth; cultivation effects on soil properties and plant growth; soil degradation problems.
Practical classes provide experience in soil evaluation and opportunities to quantify the influence of varying soil properties on agriculturally and environmentally important soil functions. Data handling and presentation skills are developed in practical sessions.


To introduce the main components of soils and their influence on soil processes. To consider how variations in these components influence soil properties of relevance to plant growth and land management.

Module Skills

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Campbell, N. and Reece, J. (2005) Biology 7th. Benjamin Cummings Publishers
** Reference Text
Ashman, M.R. & Puri, G. (2002) Essential soil science: a clear and concise introduction to soil science.
Batey, T. (1988) Soil husbandry; a practical guide to the use and management of soils Soil & Land consultants Aberdeen
Brady, N.C. & Weil, R.R. (1993) The nature and properties of soils 11th. Macmillan, New York
Cresser, M., Killham, K. & Edwards, T. (1993) Soil chemistry and its applications.
Rudeforth, C.C. et al (1984) Soil survey of England & Wales Soils and their use in Wales Cambridge University Press
Wild, A. (1988) Russells soil conditions and plant growth 11th. Longmans


This module is at CQFW Level 4