ST-Soil Erosion/Agr Landscapes

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UMass Amherst
Soils are the medium that grows the vast majority of the food consumed world-wide, yet soil erosion diminishes agricultural production and ultimately threatens food security. In the U.S. major uncertainties still exist regarding the rates of soil erosion and soil formation. This research-intensive course will explore soils and soil erosion in the Midwestern U.S., one of the world's most important agricultural landscapes. Students will conduct a semester-long research project. During a pre-semester field trip, students will collect soils and make a variety of field measurements. During the semester, the lab component will be devoted to learning and applying a variety of measurements for characterizing the properties of the soils they collect, and to learning methods for determining rates of soil erosion and soil formation. Classroom sessions will be devoted to a wide range of topics related to agricultural soils, including: the glacial history of North America, soil forming factors, soil erosion processes and prediction, and agricultural policy.
To enroll, students must be enrolled in one of the majors within the School of Earth and Sustainability and agree to participate in a required eight-day field trip, that will take place in late August prior to the start of classes. The field trip will be going to an agricultural and native prairie remnant in the Midwestern U.S. and will be funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The exact site is still to be determined, pending scouting earlier this summer. Students will camp on the trip. Students must also register for the 1 credit Special Topics for field trip materials review.

Students must also register for the lab, Geology 497SF.
Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.
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Course Sections

ST-Soil Erosion/Agr Landscapes
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 3.0 Isaac Larsen TU TH 1:00PM 2:15PM Morrill II Rom 243A