North-Central Section - 47th Annual Meeting (2-3 May 2013)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 5:10 PM


ROCHEFORD, M. Kathryn, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Iowa, 121 Trowbridge Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242,

Soil is an interface between the atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, acting as buffer and filter for the air we breathe, the crops we harvest, and the water we drink. Perturbations in any one of these spheres can affect soil properties as well as its resilience. The ecological landscape of the Midwest has been extensively altered by both natural and human modifications (e.g. erosion, climate change, fire, vegetation change, land-use change, etc.). Land-use activities can have significant impacts on the physical, biological and chemical processes of soil that alter its resilience and its role in the global carbon cycle. Furthermore, a complex history of changing use patterns makes it difficult to differentiate the effects of individual land-use activities on modern soils using traditional physico-chemical soil science methods. To better model potential mitigation practices for soil sustainability, it is critical to differentiate between physico-chemical properties of soils resulting from natural processes and those from early historic land-use, as well as those resulting from modern agricultural or other modern landscape modifications. Presented here is a methodological framework that begins to incorporate the geomorphological and geochemical perspectives that can be utilized to reveal land-use activities for areas that have limited or no record of past land-use.