APBI 402 / SOIL 502
Sustainable Soil Management
Group work in APBI 402_SOIL 502 course
Course Info
Instructors: Dr. Maja Krzic; Dr. Sandra Brown
Class schedule: Friday 1-2pm (Lecture)
Monday 3-5pm (Tutorial)
Classroom: Orchard Commons 1001 (Mon & Fri)
Course Material
* Syllabus * Schedule
* PBL Case * Final Exams


Lead Instructors:

Case Contibutors:

Maja and Sandra are the appropriate contact persons regarding the general conduct of the course and some of the cases. Drs. Berch, Bomke, Prescott, Grayston and Mr. Van Ham prepared one case each and will be contributing their expertise during that specific unit of the course.


Course Description

Application of fundamental, unifying, soil science principles in sustainable management of forested, agricultural, and urban or constructed ecosystems.

Our approach is to simulate a real-life evaluation of soil properties to establish the most appropriate management practice in a particular ecosystem.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of APBI 402/SOIL 502, students will be able to:

  1. Describe processes of soil genesis, recognize diagnostic features of natural soils, and relate management practices to information available in soil survey reports.
  2. Utilize physical, chemical, and biological soil quality indicators to assess sustainability of land management practices.
  3. Characterize the soil chemical environment and its modification to enhance plant, animal, and human health.
    • Specific topics may include: liming, fertilization, and remediation of chemical contamination
  4. Describe the soil biological processes with regard to nutrient cycling and management of organic inputs.
    • Specific topics may include: maintenance of soil organic matter, carbon sequestration, and recycling of various organic materials such as manures biosolids, and green manures.
  5. Describe the soil physical environment and its manipulation and/or degradation in ecosystem management.
    • Specific topics may include: compaction, trafficability, water management, soil erosion
  6. Discuss the relationship of soil management to government and private sector policies.
    • Specific topics may include Forest Practice Code, urban development regulation, right to farm and farmland preservation legislation, environmental farm planning, and land reclamation legislation

Course Format

Course Marks

APBI 402

Sustainable Soil Management

SOIL 502

Advanced Sustainable Soil Management

Final exam 35% Final exam 35%
Case reports by individuals (3)(See a) 39% Case reports by individuals (3)(See a) 30%
Case seminars by groups (3)(See b) 21% Case seminars by groups (3)(See b) 21%
Wikipedia article (1)(See c) 9%
Class participation (See d) 5% Class participation (See d) 5%
Bonus mark (See e) up to 2% Bonus mark (See e) up to 2%

a Written case reports of 1,000 words will be prepared by individual students and will be due a week after the group presentations. Written case reports will be assessed on the basis of content and quality of writing (for more details see section on “Case Report-Writing Tips” shown at the end of this syllabus). Content of the individual case reports should demonstrate that the student has achieved the case learning outcomes and is able to discuss them in the context of the case scenario. Also, in 1-2 paragraphs each student should compare (relate) learning outcomes of his/her case to the cases presented by other groups. All reports should be handed in on time and 10% mark subtraction will be made for each day being late. Late term papers, passed day 4 will not be accepted.

b Group presentations will be judged based on content, structure, and delivery. More detailed criteria for group presentations are given at the end of the course syllabus.

c SOIL 502 students will complete a wikipedia article - completing an existing stub or creating a new page.

d Class participation will be assessed on the basis of contribution to in-class (verbal) and online (written) discussions.

e Bonus points of up to 2% will be awarded for attending annual workshop of the Pacific Regional Society of Soil Science (PRSSS) to be held on March 7, 2020 (see http://www.prsss.ca/events/event/2020-spring-workshop-and-agm-soils-in-the-field/). The attendance is strongly recommended. Up to 2% will be awarded for workshop attendance and ~500 word synopsis of the workshop written from the student’s perspective and suitable for publication in the PRSSS Newsletter.

===It is highly recommended that students attend SOIL 500 – Soil Science seminar (every Friday at 3-4 pm, MCML154) since most seminar topics will be complementary to what we are covering in this course.

Course Outline

Course Introduction - Week 1

General concept of soil quality and sustainable land management.

Case 1 - Weeks 1 through 5

Case specific learning outcome: Describe soil physical environment and its manipulation and/or degradation in ecosystem management.
Case scenarios:

Case 2 - Weeks 5 through 9

Case specific learning outcome: Characterize the soil chemical environment and its modification to enhance plant, animal, and human health.
Case scenarios:

Case 3 - Weeks 9 through 13

Case specific learning outcome: Describe soil biological processes and application to nutrient cycling and management of organic inputs.
Case scenarios:

PRSSS Spring workshop

Students are strongly encouraged to attend the Pacific Regional Soil Science Society workshop spring 2019
Details and registration information can be found on the PRSSS website: http://prsss.landfood.ubc.ca/springworkshop/
2% bonus marks are available for students who submit a short summary of the workshop; the best summary will be printed in an upcoming version of the PRSSS newsletter. Summaries should be submitted to connect prior to the end of term.

General References

  1. Brady N.C., and R.R. Weil. 2010. Elements of the nature and properties of soils (3rd ed.). Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 624 pp.
  2. Craul, P.J. 1999. Urban soils: applications and practices. Wiley, New York. NY.
  3. Doran, J.W. and A.J. Jones. 1996. Methods for Assessing Soil Quality. SSSA Special Publication Number 49.SSSA. Madison, WI. 410 pp.
  4. Edwards, C.A. 2004. Earthworm ecology (2nd ed.). CRC Press, Boca Raton. FL. 456 pp.
  5. Fisher, R.F. and D. Binkley. 2000. Ecology and management of forest soils (3rd ed.). John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York. 489 pp.
  6. Krzic, M., T. Naughler, S. Dyanatkar, and C. Crowley. 2010. Virtual Soil Lab Modules. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver. http://soilweb.landfood.ubc.ca/labmodules/
  7. Krzic, M., K. Wiseman, L. Dampier, S. Grand, J. Wilson, and D. Gaumont-Guay. 2013. SoilWeb200: An Online Educational Tool for the APBI 200 course: Introduction to Soil Science. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver http://soilweb200.landfood.ubc.ca
  8. Magdoff, F.R. and R.R. Weil. 2004. Soil organic matter in sustainable agriculture. CRC Press, Boca Faton, FL. 416 pp.
  9. Tisdale, S.L., W.L. Nelson, J.D. Beaton, and J. Havlin. 1999. Soil Fertility and Fertilizers. Collier-Macmillan.

Course Schedule

See Course:APBI402-SOIL502/Schedule

Group Presentations: Components & Judging Criteria

Group presentations will be judged based on content (60%), structure (30%), and delivery (10%).

Content (60%)

a. Explains theory and potentially complex material clearly (e.g., no jargon or jargon is explained).
b. There was sufficient detail for an out-of-field observer to follow the presentation.

Structure (30%)

Delivery (10%)

Case Report: Writing Tips & Grading Criteria

Word limit of 1,000 words does not include tables, figures, list of references, cover page, and appendix (assuming that you decide to include an appendix in your paper). Reports must be written in your own words.

-Tips on how to approach preparing the case report:

Content (40%)

Organization (20%)

Comparison to Other Cases (30%)

In 1-2 paragraphs, compare and/or relate key findings of your case to the cases presented by other groups. Focus on the soil function, processes and properties (indicators), avoiding any elaboration of different management practices used in different case studies. Consider developing a table highlighting similarities and differences between cases.

Grammar and Writing Style (10%)

•Ensure that your report is free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.
•Keep your sentences simple. That does not necessarily mean that your thoughts are simple. Complex and adjective-laden sentences just make your great ideas hard to follow.
•Each paragraph should contain one main idea. Paragraphs should be logically organized. For example, you should discuss ideas in the order in which they appear in your introduction.
•As a university student, you are expected to submit original work and give credit to other peoples' ideas; hence, plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you are unclear on the concept, please see http://learningcommons.ubc.ca/resource-guides/avoid-plagiarism/
•Professional Communications Handbook by Garland and Shackleton http://lfs-lc-collabtm.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2013/11/professional.communication.handbook.pdf

Problem-Based Learning Cases

PBL Cases Landing Page