96680 - Pedology

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Land and Agro-Forestry Technologies (cod. 5831)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the lessons, the students obtain the basic knowledge to assess the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil. They know and use cartographic and aerial photogrammetric tools for the cartographic land representation, land use and the interaction between agro-forest ecosystem factors. They are able to recognize the different pedogenetic substrates and the types of surface horizons by means of field diagnostic tools and laboratory.

Course contents

The student who logs on to this teaching have to own a good culture in the foundations of mathematics, physics and plant biology. These prerequisites are provided by the basic teachings disbursed during the first period of the first year.

Theoretical educational content unit (total 36 hours)

1. Introduction: the soil concept
Definition of soil, the factors of soil formation, the formation and development of the soil, status factors and the model Jenny, pedofunzioni and pedosequenze

2. The factors of soil formation: climate

Temperature and rainfall, coefficients and thermo-pluviometric diagrams, water and thermal regimes of the soils

3. The factors of soil formation: the parent rock

The rocks cycle: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, bullets on the main minerals and rocks and their recognition, physical disintegration and chemical alteration, intensity of the transformation of the rocks, and the chemistry of the rock formation pedogenetic substrate.

4.The factors of soil formation: the vegetation

Soil Biomass, the soil organic matter and its transformations, humus forms, and their ecological significance, formation of surface horizons

5. The factors of soil formation: the morphology

spot heights and level curves, elevation ranges, slope and slope exposure, surface water system and of medium depth, shaping the earth's surface for water action, ice, wind and pyroclastic.

6. The soil formation processes

Formation and development of the soil and steady state, the processes of transformation, translocation, addition and removal of materials, environmental contexts and dominant soil formation processes

7. The main types of soil and their distribution

The main types of soil according to the international classification systems and their distribution to global and national levels

8. Landscape Reading Tools: from maps to geographic information systems.

Obtained skills in the unit theoretical teaching

§ Knowledge of the role and the action of the main factors of soil formation in the agricultural and forest ecosystems

§ Knowledge of the main mechanisms of the process pedogenetic

§ Knowledge of the main types of soil developed in agro-forestry contexts

§ knowledge of the tools suitable for the reading of the environmental features that affect the formation and evolution of the soil.

Contained unit laboratory teaching (total 24 hours) and skills acquired

Laboratory activities and exercises will be carried out in small groups of 20-25 people set at the start of lessons

1.Laboratory about recognition rocks and minerals and their alterability

2.Laboratory of cartography in which it proceeds to the reading of topographic maps for the calculation of geographic coordinates, the definition of the morphology with altimetric maps and reading of the contour lines, the definition of georeferencing using GPS

3.Laboratory of photogrammetry to the three-dimensional view of the area through stereoscopic vision of aerial images, to verify the transformation of the territory and the land consumption through vision multispectral and multi-temporal satellite images

4.Laboratory of recognition soils

5.Laboratory of soil manipulation for the chemical-physical characteristics according to the international guides (laboratory diagnostics: texture, degree of reaction, total limestone, organic matter, etc.. Etc.).

6. field diagnostics of the main morphological characteristics of the soils ().

7.The exercises also involve the discussion of analytical results and field detected features

8. study of litology in the Idice river Valley (high hill and Apennine)

9.Revion for preparing the questionnaire


G. Sanesi. Elementi di pedologia, Calderini Edagricole, Bologna, 2000

- G. Vianello, D. Bentivogli, M.P. Boschi. Radici della Terra: ecologia e geopedologia (Cap. 9, 10 e 11). Cappelli Editore, Bologna, 2009

- G. Certini, F.C. Ugolini. Basi di Pedologia, Edagricole, Bologna 2010

- C. Dazzi. Fondamenti di pedologia, Le Penseur, 2013

- G. Vianello (a cura di). Diffusione e sperimentazione della cartografia, del telerilevamento e dei sistemi informativi geografici, come tecnologie applicate allo studio del territorio e dell'ambiente, MIUR, LAC, Firenze 2006. NB questo materiale verrà

- http://www [http://www/] . Dipsa.unibo.it/CATGIS Cartografia, Aerofotogrammetria, Telerilevamento, Sistemi Informativi Geografici.

- http://www.dipsa.unibo.it/APOSA Atlante dei paesaggi, Orografia, Suoli e Acqua dell'Italia e delle regioni.

Teaching methods

he course is divided into two parts:

1) Lectures: through teaching units in the classroom, the students acquire the knowledge necessary for the understanding about the processes of the functioning of the soil in the agro-forest ecosystems. The acquisition of knowledge and understanding will be constantly monitored during the lectures, through a continuous interaction between teacher and students which will take place in the exercises.

2) Exercises: the student participates in laboratory and field experiments for detection that are intended to provide the technical study and analysis for the understanding of pedogenetic processes of a given soil. This part of the teaching will also aim to check the ability of application of knowledge to the evaluation of the soil system.

Assessment methods

The assessment is based on an oral exam which will focus on three questions: the first relating to the factors of soil formation (climate, rocks, morphology, vegetation), the second of cartography and the third relating to soil formation processes (the processes of transformation, translocation, addition and removal of materials). It can also be given a soil profile type, and the presence / absence of certain horizons it goes back to the soil formation processes of soil formation and the factors that have most affected.

The verification must be overcome in a comprehensive way and it is necessary that the candidate reaches the score of at least 18/30 in each of the subject areas that characterize this course. The oral test lasts about 30 minutes.

Teaching tools

PC, video projector, power-point presentations, samples of rocks, soil monoliths, soil maps by web 

Office hours

See the website of Livia Vittori Antisari


Good health and well-being Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.