Soils and Land Use

Munsell Soil Color Book

Physical Properties and Soil Formation

Learning Objectives
  1. Understand the importance of soils and appreciate the relatively small amount of usable soil that exists on Earth.
  2. Know the five soil forming factors, and how these factors influence soil properties.
  3. Understand the origin and types of soil parent materials.
  4. Understand basic soil forming processes: additions, losses, translocations, and transformations.
  5. Recognize and understand features of soil profiles, and be able to use this information to determine basic soil properties and limitations.
  6. Identify and describe soil characteristics: texture, structure, and color (using Munsell color charts).

Soil Ecosystems

Learning Objectives
  1. Recognize that biological diversity is important for soil health and hence plant, human and environmental health.
  2. Understand how the hydrologic, carbon and nutrient cycles relate to soil management.
  3. Recognize that understanding soil ecosystems is important to soil management.

Chemical Properties of Soil and Soil Fertility

Learning Objectives
  1. Understand the procedure for taking a soil sample and conducting nutrient analysis.
  2. Know that plants must receive essential micronutrients and macronutrients from the soil in order to be healthy.
  3. Understand how soil fertility relates to the physical and chemical properties of the soil in addition to the quantity of nutrients.

Soil Conservation and Land Use Management

Learning Objectives
  1. Compare different land uses and conservation practices and their impact on soils and erosion.
  2. Understand how soil is impacted by point & non-point source pollution & the importance of soil management to agriculture and clean water.
  3. Understand that soil management and environmental protection requires agricultural and resource managers to use spatial tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in order to make the best possible resource decisions.
  4. Learn about career opportunities and the role of government in the natural resources management.

Web Soil Surveys & Soil Surveys

Learning Objectives
  • 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 the eight 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.

Reference Materials


  • Texas Envirothon

    Phone: 281-283-3045

    North Office Annex
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 540
    Houston, TX 77058-1002