Soil Processes

Soil formation (genesis) is brought about by a series of specific changes that can be grouped into four broad soil processes as noted in the image on this page (Mouse over the labels in the image for more information – it will appear below the image).

These processes of soil genesis, operating under the influence of environmental factors, give us a logical framework for understanding the relationships between particular soils and the landscapes and ecosystems in which they function.

This approach is known as internal process modeling. In analyzing these relationships for a given site, ask yourself the following four questions:

  1. What are the materials being added to this soil?
  2. What transformations and translocations are taking place in this profile?
  3. What materials are being removed?
  4. How have climate, organisms, topography, and parent material at this site affected these processes over time?

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