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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Soil Protection and Management (PGGE11183)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummarySoil is an invaluable resource in relation to food production, pollution control and the mitigation of climate change. Human activity has severe consequences on soils across the globe, and the adoption of good practise in terms of both land and soil management and use is crucial to the conservation of soils now and in the future.
In Soil Protection and Management we introduce you to the major functions of soil, the challenges we face in using it and the techniques we can employ to both understand and improve sustainable soil use.
This course begins with an introduction to what soil is before we consider methods for evaluation of soil and land quality. The following sessions go into more detail of the maintenance and improvement of various aspects of soil quality, the importance of soil fertility, structure and physical condition, and biological activity. Management techniques to prevent land degradation by toxic element contamination, salinisation, soil erosion and techniques to promote restoration of contaminated and disturbed land will be considered. Finally, aspects of soil management in the tropics and Australasia will be used to highlight how many of the introduced skills and theories can be applied globally.

The course will be of interest to students who are concerned with protecting land resources from inappropriate use and the restoration of these resources through sustainable management practices.
Course description Exact timetabling is subject to change based on availability of teaching staff, but we make every effort to keep linked sessions together.

Week 1 Introduction. Soil protection management
Soil quality and protection. Properties of soil; the biology, physical and chemical. Nutrients, their cycling and management.
Week 2 Land evaluation, soil mapping and land capability
Soil forming factors and their use in mapping. Approaches to land evaluation. Land capability classification. Discussion about potential essay topics.
Week 3 Soils, land use and the environment
Visit to Remediation Site, 13.30 from SRUC
Week 4 Soils, land use and the environment
The importance of soils in contributing to environmental interactions with land and water. Soil management and the environment. Laboratory class.
Week 5 Management of soil physical conditions and soil water
Land use and degradation in temperate systems. Compaction, water and wind erosion; universal soil loss equation; erosion control methods in agricultural and forest soils. Soil structure and tillage.

Extra session Visit to field sites at Bog Hall Wednesday from SRUC.

Week 6 Soil contamination and remediation.
Techniques and problems involved in restoring land disturbed by mineral extraction. Contaminated land regime in the UK- Legal Framework.
Week 7 Soil contamination and remediation II.
Site investigation Procedures, Risk assessment, Source-Pathway-Receptor, Overview of Remediation Technologies: Physical, Chemical, Biological.
Week 8 Land Degradation & soil management in the Med. & Tropics
Management of tropical and Australian soils using case studies, a consideration of soil fertility and soil physical properties, and how they can be managed.
Week 9 Student presentations
List of titles to be agreed beforehand.
Week 10 Revision session
Class work on previous exam papers.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  36
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Continuous assessment (50% of module mark).

Essay (75% of continuous assessment mark) on a topic of your choice, but which is of relevance to the course and agreed in discussion with the teaching staff. Example subject areas could include: Soils and climate change, soil remediation and management, salinization, wind and water erosion.

Oral presentation and abstract on your essay topic (25% of continuous assessment).
The presentations comprise of a 10 minute talk on your chosen subject area (8 minute presentation and 2 minutes for questions). You are encouraged to use PowerPoint to aid your presentation with about 5 slides. These might cover, but should not be limited to, the following topics; title, introduction, issue, solutions, outcomes and future scenarios

Examination (50% of module mark)
A closed book examination will take place at the end of the first semester. Details to be announced once confirmed by the University. Past papers will be made available during the course and a session on approaches to answering them will be included.

Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have an understanding of soil formation, classification and global distribution.
  2. Determine interactions between soil and the environment
  3. Identify key factors driving reduction in soil quality and increased erosion potential.
  4. Evaluate land management practise to mitigate negative impacts on soil.
Reading List
The following textbooks provide valuable background material for the module. We do not expect you to purchase these books to undertake the course as they are available across the SRUC and Edinburgh libraries.
Further reading material is provided via Learn and in lecture notes.

Barrow, C.J. (1991). Land Degradation. Cambridge University Press.
Brady N.C. and Weil R.R. (2007). The nature and properties of soils (14th Edition).
Harris, J.A., Birch, P. & Palmer, J. (1996). Land Restoration and Reclamation - Principles and Practice. Longman, London.
Hudson, N. W. (1995). Soil Conservation (3rd Edition) Batsford, London.
Marshall J.T., Homes C.T., and Rose C.W. (1996). Soil Physics.
Morgan, R. P. C. (2005). Soil Erosion and Conservation (3rd ed) Blackwell, Oxford.
Sparks, D.L. (2002). Environmental Soil Chemistry. (2nd Edition) Academic Press.
Tan, K. H. (2000). Environmental Soil Science (2nd Edition). M. Dekker, New York.
Wild, A. (2003). Soils, Land and Food: Managing the Land during the Twenty-First Century.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills You will have the opportunity to develop and understanding of the pressures and issues relating to soil preservation, management and rehabilitation and to develop potential land management strategies to alleviate or remediate these issues.
KeywordsSoil,protection,management,soil sustainability,envrironmental management
Course organiserDr Sarah Buckingham
Course secretaryMrs Elspeth Martin
Tel: 0131 535 4198
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