D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)
Good knowledge of mathematics, physics, pedology, chemistry, biology, microbiology, hydrology
The didactic method consists of front lessons with the help of ppt projections (provided in copy to the students) (4 ECTS), and field excursions (2 ECTS).
Knowledge. The main aim of the course is to give the basic knowledge of the land evaluating systems, emphasizing on the most important soil threats. Technical principles for soil protection and maintenance will be also given so to better understand the importance to preserve soil and its functions. These techniques include hydraulic land settings, drainage systems, and terracing.
Applying knowledge and understanding. The intent of the course is to provide knowledge and technical tools for properly evaluating the soil quality and recognize soil functions, vulnerabilities and strengths, but also the most appropriate remediation systems. The course also conveys technical knowledge and tools to be applied on soils degraded by erosion, salinity, pollution, organic matter decrease, and vertisolization so to restore the functions.
Cross-expertise. a) Ability to linking pedological issues to arguments of soil and environmental pollution given in the course of “Soil pollution and remediation” (heavy metal pollution, recover of contaminated sites, depuration of contaminated soils); b) development of an own judging capability when working on soil evaluation or recognizing of eventual threats, based on scientific and technic knowledge; c) ability to properly transfer information, ideas, problems and relative technical solutions to experts with different scientific and technical background involved in managing anthropic ecosystems such as cultivated and urban soils (agronomists, architectures, landscape experts, administrators and agency executives).
- Main systems of Land Evaluation – strengths and weaknesses; main caused of soil degradation (water and wind erosion, organic matter decrease, salinization, vertisolization, sealing, pollution, fires, speculation) (2 ECTS)
- Land Capability – strengths and weaknesses; Land Suitability – strengths and weaknesses; Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) – strengths and weaknesses (1 ECTS)
- Form evaluation to conservation: principles and maintenance techniques; difficult soils (saline soils, mountain soils, skeletal soils); outline on hydraulic land settings, drainage systems, and terracing and their setting for soil conservation and functions (1 ECTS)
- Field excursions: application of VSA on soils under forest species, and writing of a soil evaluation technical report (2 ECTS)
Soil Management and Conservation is an integrated course made of two units: Soil Evaluation and Maintenance (6 ECTS) and Soil Pollution and Remediation (6 ECTS). Each module is independently evaluated, but with one final grade, resulting from the weighted average (by ECTS of each unit) of the marks obtained in the two modules.
Learning evaluation methods
Final assessment will focus on an oral examination lasting 40-45 minutes.
Learning evaluation criteria
During examination the student has to demonstrate the knowledge of the topics treated during lessons and field excursions, and the capability to properly expose the arguments with an appropriate technical-scientific language. Particular attention will be given to the ability to deal with deductive reasoning and connections so as to demonstrate mastery of the discipline.
Learning measurement criteria
The oral exam consists of 2-3 questions on arguments treated during the course (30% of the final mark) and 2 queries dealing with reasoning on and connections among arguments that are typical of the soil evaluation and maintenance activities (remaining 70% of the grade).
Final mark allocation criteria
The assignment of the final mark will be out of thirty and will be determined by the weighted mean of the marks obtained in the two sets of questions. The cum laude will be given to the student who has achieved the highest mark and has also demonstrated the ability to connect course arguments and make deductive reasoning.
1) M. PANIZZA (1992). Geomorfologia. Pitagora Editrice Bologna.
2) A. GIORDANO (1999). Pedologia. UTET.
3) VSA material (free download): http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/i0007e/i0007e00.htm
4) Predicting soil erosion by water: a guide to conservation planning with the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). Free download at:
5) Land Capability material (free download):
6) Land Suitability material (free reading):http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0715e/t0715e06.htm
On Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m., or other day by appointment taken via email or telephone.