This page is the online Soils Study Guide to assist students in preparing for the NJ Envirothon. We hope that materials on this site will assist students in their preparation for the New Jersey Envirothon. Please continue to use the training trunks and other materials available through the Soil Conservation Districts.
The soil forming factors supply the initial material and conditions under which a particular soil will form. The soil forming processes result from the interactions of the soil forming factors. These processes influence and even create a soil’s physical and chemical properties.
1. Functions of Soils
Soils are important because they perform many important functions, including:
Sustaining biological activity, diversity, and productivity
Regulating and partitioning water and solute flow
Filtering, buffering, degrading, immobilizing and detoxifying organic & inorganic materials
Storing and cycling nutrients and other elements
Providing support of socioeconomic structures
2. Variability of Soils
Soils vary from place to place due to differences in their Soil forming factors, Soil forming processes, and/or Soil properties:
a. Soil forming factors (see From the Surface Down, section 2)
b. Soil forming processes (see From the Surface Down, section 3)