6. Resources: Soil and Land Use

Welcome to the unit Resources: Soil and Land Use

This unit aims to introduce the participants to the concepts and principles of sustainable land use.

Previous units covered the use of critical elements and water. Both resources are tightly bonded with the soil they are attached to. Extracting mineral resources influences the surrounding heavily, both soil and water. Necessary for mining is water. The resulting waste waters have the power to pollute the environment, as they are usually enriched in heavy metals. Similarly, ore processing bears risks. After breaking the mined material down in size, the ore is processed with chemical treatments, for example cyanides when processing gold ore. Leakages of waste water are devastating for the environment and restauration is expensive and long-lasting.

This unit provides a wide spectrum of soil-related topics. The methods of land use are a driving factor for human development during the last 12,000 years and often combined with new technology. Providing fundamental knowledge about soil formation and restoration will create awareness for its value. The following unit covers the threats posed by human activity and climate change. This information is adjusted with considerations about responsible land use in advance for economic interests on one side and environmental sustainability on the other.

The main objectives to this unit are:

  • Introducing the participants to fundamental understanding of the formation of soil and its value across local, regional and global scales
  • Understanding the variety of threats posed by human activity and climate change
  • Providing a wide range of measures to protect this resource

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

By the end of this unit, you should be able to accomplish the following tasks:

  • To learn about the change of land use through time and what caused these changes
  • To understand and explain basic soil classes and the main concepts of pedology and edaphology
  • To know about forms of soil pollution and acidification.
  • To reflect and discuss on the state of soil in their country and its influence on society
  • To understand the interplay between human impact on environment and environmental impact on humans
  • To reflect about the impact of land use on society and culture