Course code LauZ1015

Credit points 3

Forest Soils

Total Hours in Course81

Number of hours for lectures16

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes16

Number of hours for laboratory classes16

Independent study hours33

Date of course confirmation22.03.2021

Responsible UnitInstitute of Soil and Plant Science

Course developers

author Augsnes un augu zinātņu institūts

Aldis Kārkliņš

Dr. habil. agr.


Jana Vāle

Mg. agr.

Course abstract

General scheme of soil – forming processes and soil – forming factors. Composition of Earths crust. The basiv geological processes. Soil morphology. Mineral component of soil. Soil organic matter. Formation, composition and properties of soil humus. Soil chemical composition. Soil colloids. Soil absorbing processes, soil reaction. Soil solution. Soil physical properties. Water in soil. Soil gaseous phase. Ground functions of soil, resistance and bearing capacity – factors related. Soil diagnosis and classification. Automorphic, Semihydromorphic and Hydromorphic soils of Latvia. Soil degradation. Soil mapping.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Knowledge and understanding about the basic geological processes, soil formation - 1st test and 2 laboratory works. To obtain skills in morphological, physical and chemical analystical methods. Development of ability to evaluate soil conditions -2nd test and 8 laboratory works. Principal soils’ proeperties, about soil classification – 3rd test and 6 laboratory works.

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Introduction 1. h
2. General scheme of soil formation 1. h
3.Minerals, rocks. Geological processes 1. h
4. Soil formation factors 1. h
5.Augsnes formation processes Lect.1.
6. Granulometric composition of soil and bedrock 1. h
7. Soil organic part 1. h
8. Soil chemical and colloidal properties 1. h
9. Soil structure 1. h
10. Physical properties of soil 1. h
11. Soil hydrophysical properties and water regime 1. h
12.Aerophysical and thermophysical properties of soil, air and heat regime 1. h
13. Swamps, their formation 1. h
14. Soil classification 1. h
15. Soil degradation 1. h
16. Soil mapping 1. h

Topics of laboratory works:
1. Determination of soil skeleton and granulometric composition 2 h laboratory works.
2. Determination of active and metabolic acidity of soil 2 h laboratory works.
3. Determination of organic carbon (organic matter) 2 h laboratory works.
4. Determination of carbonate content 2 h laboratory works.
5. Soil morphological properties. Morphological characteristics of soils 2 h laboratory works.
6. Soil profile, its genetic horizons. Horizon diagnostics 3 h laboratory works.
7. Determination of soil class, type and subtypes 3 h laboratory works.

Practical works: 2-day trip to the research station "Vecauce" 16 h

Requirements for awarding credit points

The qualitative assessment of the test is formed as the average assessment of three successfully passed tests (in addition, the student's work in the semester and the results of short tests-tests are also assessed).
Passed laboratory works.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Independent topics:
1. Investigation of automorphic soils and compiling a soil description for the given soil monoliths. Determination of soil type and subtype.
2. Investigation of semi-hydromorphic soils and preparation of soil description for the given soil monoliths. Determination of soil type and subtype.
3. Investigation of hydromorphic soils and preparation of soil description for the given soil monoliths. Determination of soil type and subtype.
Literature studies for the acquisition of the program issues. Processing and design of laboratory work results. Independent topics. Testing and crediting of laboratory works.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Written 3 tests (50% of the total evaluation of the study course) during the semester must be passed, the topics of which cover the issues covered in the lecture, the material of laboratory work (50% of the total evaluation of the study course), as well as the material acquired independently, according to the volume of the study subject program.

Compulsory reading

1. Bambergs K. (1993). Ģeoloģija un hidroģeoloģija. Rīga: Zvaigzne. 327 lpp.
2. Nikodemus O., Kārkliņš A., Kļaviņš M., Melecis V. (2008). Augsnes izlspējīga izmantošana un aizsardzība. Rīga: LU Akadēmiskais apgāds. 256 lpp.
3. Latvijas augšņu noteicējs (2009). A. Kārkliņa red. Jelgava: LLU. 240 lpp.
4. Kārkliņš A. (2008). Augsnes diagnostika un apraksts. Jelgava: LLU. 336 lpp.
5. Kārkliņš A. (2007). Augsnes diagnostika un apraksts: lauku darbu metodika. Jelgava: LLU. 120 lpp.
6. Kārkliņš A. (2012). Zeme, augsne, mēslojums: Terminu skaidrojošā vārdnīca. Jelgava: LLU. 477 lpp.
7. Ģeoloģija, augsne, agroķīmija (2008): metodiskie norādījumi mācību praksei. 2. pārstr. un papild. izd. A. Kārkliņš, I. Līpenīte, I. Lūse u.c. Prof. A. Kārkliņa red. Jelgava: LLU. 88 lpp.

Further reading

1. Maldavs Z., Melluma A., Seile A. (1981). Ģeomorfoloģijas pamati. Rīga: Zvaigzne. 210 lpp.
2. Mežals G., Skujāns R., Freivalds V., Bambergs K. (1970). Augsnes zinātne un Latvijas PSR augsnes. Rīga: Zvaigzne. 524 lpp.
3. Mežals G. (1980). Meža augsnes zinātne. Rīga: Zvaigzne. 174 lpp.
4. Bušs M. un Vanags J. (1987). Latvijas meži. Rīga: Avots. 176 lpp.

5. Meža enciklopēdija (2003). J. Broka red. 1. sējums. Rīga: Zelta grauds. 368 lpp.

Periodicals and other sources

1. Lecture Notes on the Major Soils of the World (2001). Ed. by P. Driessen, J. Deckers, O. Spaargaren, F. Nachtergaele. Word Soil Resourrces Reports No. 94. Rome: FAO. 334 p.
2. Soil Atlas of Europe (2005). European Soil Bureau Network, European Commission. 128 p.
3. Soil Atlas of the Northern Circumpolar Region (2010). European Soil Bureau Network, European Commission. 144 p.
4. European Atlas of Soil Biodiversity (2010). European Soil Bureau Network, European Commission. 128 p.

5. Encyclopaedia of Soil in the Environment (2005). Ed.-in-chief D. Hillel. Elsevier Academic Press. Vol. I – 548 p., vol. II – 542 p., vol III – 570 p., vol. IV – 459 p.


Compulsory course for the higher study program of the Faculty of Forestry in the specialty of Forest Engineers, full and part-time 1st year 2nd semester