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Soil

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**1. Soil Composition and Formation:**

– Soil composition includes water, gases, sand, silt, clay, and organic matter.
– Soil is about 50% solids and 50% voids filled with water and gas.
– Soil pores allow for air and water movement crucial for life.
– Soils develop profiles with distinct horizons influenced by parent material and processes.
– Soil forms through the interaction of climate, relief, organisms, and parent materials.
– Soil undergoes continuous development through physical, chemical, and biological processes.

**2. Soil Functions and Importance:**

– Soil supports plant growth, stores water, modifies the atmosphere, and provides habitat.
– Soil is essential for ecosystem services like nutrient recycling and water regulation.
– Soil aids in nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, and water filtration.
– Soil provides physical support, nutrients, and protection for plants and animals.
– Soil is crucial for the Earth’s ecosystems and carbon cycle.
– Soil provides ecosystem services like water purification and nutrient recycling.

**3. Soil Properties and Interactions:**

– Soil texture is determined by sand, silt, and clay proportions.
– Soil bulk density estimates soil compaction.
– Soil porosity consists of voids occupied by gases or water.
– Mineral particles in soil flocculate to form aggregates or peds.
– Soil water content is measured as volume or weight.
– Soil development can be described in terms of color, porosity, consistency, and acidity.

**4. Soil Nutrient Cycling and Chemistry:**

– Nutrients in soil may be adsorbed on clay mineral surfaces or bound within organic compounds.
– Soil chemistry affects nutrient availability, physical properties, and living populations.
– Surface chemistry of colloids determines soil’s chemical properties.
– Cation-exchange capacity influences the ability of soil to hold and release ions.
– Most plant nutrients originate from minerals in the soil parent material.
– Soil pH affects plant nutrient availability.

**5. Soil Biodiversity and Reactivity:**

– Soil hosts a vast array of microbes, animals, plants, and fungi.
– Soil likely houses 59 ± 15% of Earth’s species.
– Soil biodiversity is challenging to study due to the invisibility of most life forms.
– Soil reactivity is measured by pH, ranging from 3.5 to 9.5 in soils.
– Cation exchange buffers soil pH and alters soil structure.
– Base saturation is the fraction of negatively charged soil colloid exchange sites occupied by base-forming cations.

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