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Forest soils form where it is not too hot, and not too cold. The type of soil that forms depends on what type of vegetation grows. Soils that formed under deciduous forests are very fertile and productive agricultural lands because of the decomposing leaves at the soil surface. However, soils formed under pine trees are usually more acidic and sandy, and are less suited to growing crops. Forests are very important, as they store a great deal of carbon in the leaves, trees, and soil, which is why it is important to protect the forests.
This lesson is appropriate for grades 4+.
1) Show on a map where temperate forests are found in North America and/or the world.
2) Discuss what a soil in a coniferous forest may look like.
3) Discuss what a soil in a deciduous forest may look like.
Glossary of Terms:
In current glossary:
E Horizon (eluviated)
Other glossary words:
Spodosols – acidic, sandy forest soils under conifers
Alfisols – moderately leached soils often found in temperate forests
Respiration – animals breathing in and out getting air to their cells.
Carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas that protects the earth, but can cause problems if found in too large of a quantitiy.
Activities or information:
1) Forest Soil/Climate maps
2 ) Forest soils
1) What is the difference between soils in a coniferous forest and those in a deciduous forest?
2) If trees have more roots in them, why aren't soils dark in color like prairie soils?
3) What is leaching?