Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2020

Environmental Sciences Bachelor Information
Bachelor Studies (Programme Regulations 2016)
Natural Science and Technical Electives
Soil Sciences
701-0362-00LSoils and Vegetation of the Alps (Excursion) Restricted registration - show details
Diese Exkursion (max. 24 Plätze) gehört zur Vorlesung «Flora und Vegetation der Alpen» (701-0364-00; A. Widmer). Sie kann nur gleichzeitig mit der Vorlesung oder nach bestandener Prüfung belegt werden. Alternativ ist eine Teilnahme möglich mit bestandenen Prüfungen in «Bodenchemie» (701-0533-00L; R. Kretzschmar, D.I. Christl) und «Pedosphäre» (701-0501-00L; R. Kretzschmar).
W2 credits2PA. Widmer, R. Kretzschmar
AbstractThe excursion in the area of Davos illustrates how climatic and edaphic factors shape the distribution of alpine plants. Visits of multiple sites on different bedrocks in the subalpine and alpine elevational belts reveal connections between climatic conditions, soil formation and vegetation development.
ObjectiveThe students
- understand how parent rock, topography, climate, and vegetation influence soil forming processes and resulting soil properties (e.g. nutrients, water) in the Alps.
- understand, how climatic and edaphic factors affect the occurrence and distribution of alpine plants.
- are familiar with characteristic plant communities on acidic, basic and ultramafic bedrock in the subalpine and alpine elevational belts.
- know characteristic plant species and plant communities of the subalpine and alpine elevational belts in the Alps.
Content4-day excursion in the area of Davos with visits of sites on different bedrock (dolomite, gneiss/mica schist, amphibolite, serpentinite) in the subalpine and alpine elevational belts.
Structure, development and characteristics of the soils and of their effects on the vegetation; characteristic plant species and communities on different soil types.
Lecture notesA guide to the excursion will be made available.
LiteratureLandolt E. 2003: Unsere Alpenflora. 7.Aufl., SAC-Verlag.
Prerequisites / NoticePlease note that this course will be taught in German.
701-0518-00LSoil Resources and Global ChangeW3 credits2GS. Dötterl, M. W. Evangelou
AbstractIntroduction into the importance, concepts and areas of action related to soil development and the use of soil resources in a changing world.
ObjectiveUnderstanding the
- conditions under which soils develop and are used at the global scale

- consequences and problems of the use of soil and the resulting pressure on soil resources

- impact of climate and global change on the future development of soil resources
ContentSoil functions and soil formation; regional and global soil development, impacts of land use on soil water and gas circulation; forms of soil pollution and degradation; regional and global estimates of soil degradation; soil amendment and remediation of contaminated soils; planning and legal implementation of soil protection.
Lecture notesHandouts will be available for download. Related scientific articles will be recommended after each session.
LiteratureSome useful text books to know of:

- Scheffer/Schachtschabel - Soil Science, Springer, Heidelberg, 2016.

- Brady N.C. and Weil, R.R. The Nature and Properties of Soils. 14th ed. Prentice Hall, 2007.

- Press & Siever: Allgemeine Geologie, 7th ed., Springer, Heidelberg, 2016.

- Mason/Burt - Physical Geography, 5th ed., Oxford Uni. Press, Oxford, 2015.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Interest in physical geography and soil development. Basic knowledge in chemistry, biology and geology. A previous participation in lecture "Pedosphere" (701-​0501-00L) is recommended.
701-0524-00LSoil BiologyW3 credits2VO. Daniel, B. W. Frey
AbstractSoil organisms play a key role in natural soil functions. The course focuses on anthropogenic impacts such as management, land-use change and climate change on soil biodiversity.
ObjectiveBasic knowledge on biological structures and functions in soil. Discussion of biological interactions, nutrient cycles and energy fluxes in the subsurface. Here we try to answer the following questions: How do environmental factors influence soil organisms? How they can be studied and how they are influenced? Which ecosystem functions are performed by soil organisms? What are important microbial processes in the carbon and nitrogen cycle?
ContentStructure of the habitat soil: Chemical, physical and biological factors coupling soil-water-air. Structure of soil biocoenoses. Soil fauna-environment and soil microorganism-environment interactions. Nutrient cycles, organic matter decomposition and biologically catalyzed processes in soil. Evaluation of soil biological methods.
Lecture notesHandouts and student assignments will be distributed during the course.
LiteratureNo specific books required. Some recommendations will be given in the course
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: basic knowledge in soil physics, soil chemistry, zoology and mikrobiology.
701-0972-00LIntroduction into Organic Farming SystemsW3 credits2VP. J. Mäder, D. M. Dubois, B.  Oehen
AbstractThe lecture provides an overview over the principles and practices of organic agriculture. Lessons in the disciplines soil sciences, plant and animal production, and socio-economics are held by different experts. The students deepen their knowledge with an exercise on the topic of resilience. The course closes with an excursion on organic farms, and gives the opportunity for critical reflections.
ObjectiveThe students are familiar with the principles and practices of organic farming and can identify its strengths and weaknesses. They are familiar with the specific challenges in plant and animal production in organic farming and have the capability for critically assessing potential solutions in organic farming to resolve the challenges society is facing.

More detailed Information about the objectives are published on moodle:
ContentPART I: Lecture: Introduction in Organic Farming Systems

1. Roots of organic farming, historical development of farming systems, share of organic farming in Switzerland and Europe
Basic principles and requirements organic farming, standards

2. Soil fertility - Results from long-term experiments

3. Reduced soil tillage
Non-chemical weed control

4. Sustainable crop rotations
Organic fertilisation concepts

5. Plant protection: Regulation of diseases and pests

6. Increasing biodiversity
Organic breeding strategies and variety selection

7. Animal health and complementary veterinary Medicine

8. Sustainability, ethics and product quality in animal husbandry

9. Food quality of organic produces, latest meta-analyses on food quality in organic farming

10. Multifunctionality of organic farming
Agricultural Policy

11. Farm visit Goetsch, Zurich and optional "Meh als Gmües"

11. Sustainability assessment of organic farms

13. Presentation/discussion of student papers

14. Examination (written test)
Lecture notesPower Point presentations on Moodle for registred students.

Scripts on Moodle for registred students
Otto Schmid and Robert Obrist Robert (2001): Biologischer Landbau. Landwirtschaftliche Lehrmittelzentrale, Zollikofen, 267 pp (in German)

Nic Lampkin Nic, Measures Mark and Padel Susanne (2006): Organic Farm Management Handbook. University of Wales, Aberystwyth. 240pp
Prerequisites / NoticeThis lecture (701-0972-00L FS 2020) is recomended for the participation in the second part en bloc "Comparison of ecological farming systems" 701-0974-00L FS 2020.

The lecture can be taken alone without the second part.

Conditions for the credit points is a written test.

Lecture (Part I): 14 times 2h weekly lectures plus exercice (3 CRPT)

Second part en bloc (Part II): One study week with excursions, exercices and workshops (end of spring Semester: 8. - 12. June 2020) (3 CRPT)
701-0974-00LComparison of Different Swiss Farming Systems Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 30.
W3 credits3GB.  Oehen, P. J. Mäder
AbstractThe students are able to make comparisons between farming systems (organic, integrated, conventional) and to assess their contribution to a sustainable development.
ObjectiveThe students are familiar with the different methods of agriculture (organic, integrated, conventional) in Switzerland and are able to assess their performance on an ecological, economic and social level.
ContentCourse content Block II: Comparison of agricultural systems (IP and Bio)

We will visit the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and get to know research projects for the further development of sustainable agriculture.

We will deepen the implementation of the concept of sustainable agriculture in practice by visiting 6 different farms. The farm managers describe their farm strategy, their goals, the difficulties and opportunities they see for their farm.

On the last day, the various elements are reflected upon and feedback for the farms is compiled.

The course will take place all day from Tuesday, 12 June 2020 - Friday, 09 June 2020. From 09 June 2019 to 10 June 2019 we will be staying overnight at a company.

Students pay a maximum of CHF 100 per person for accommodation, meals and transport.
Lecture notesScripts are distributed in the course

Scripts can be downloaded from the web with an access code from MOODLE System:
Prerequisites / NoticePrecondition for this course is the participation in the introductionary course "Organic Farming Systems" in the former courses.

The course cannot only be taken when the Part I has been followed or with good documented knowledge of organic farming

Condition for credit points is the active participation in the course.

one study week with excursions, exercices and workshops.
701-1802-00LEcology of Forest Soil
Theoretical and practical knowledge in soil science are required for this lecture. The successful attendace of the following classes meet the requirements e.g. 701-0501-00L Pedosphere, 701-0034-06L Integrated Practical: Soil, 701-0560-00L Practical "Forests and Landscapes"
W3 credits2GS. Zimmermann, J. Luster
AbstractDeepen and apply basic knowledge in forest soil ecology obtained in previous courses; includes autonomous study of selected questions in working groups and lectures on case studies.
Objective- Deepen and apply the basic knowledge in forest soil ecology obtained in previous courses (Bachelor degree).
- Get familiar with current issues in forest soil ecology based on case studies directed to practical problems
- Gain a deeper understanding through autonomous studies of selected questions in forest ecology in working groups. This includes an autonomous soil description in the field.
Content- Overview of forest soils in Switzerland /concept of reference soils
- Forest and water (hydromorphic soils, water retention, flood protection and forest soils)
- Physical soil protection in forests: DPSIR approch (driver-pressure-state-impact-response), regeneration after compaction
- Acidification of forest soils
- Inorganic soil contamination (focus on heavy metals)
- spatial soil information (soil maps, extrapolation of point information)
- Long-term forest ecosystem research: monitoring of atmospheric pollution and reaction of the soil (soil solution and soil matrix)
- Nutrient pools and cycling in the soil environment
- Soil-plant-interactions / processes in the rhizosphere
- Carbon balance and global change
- Land-use effects on the carbon balance
- Drought and forest soils
Lecture notesLecture notes, working material exercises will be handed out.
Literature- Walthert, L., Zimmermann, S., Blaser, P., Luster, J., Lüscher, P., 2004: Waldböden der Schweiz. Volume 1. Grundlagen und Region Jura. Birmensdorf, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL. Bern, Hep Verlag, 768 pp.
- Blaser, P., Zimmermann, S., Luster, J., Walthert, L., Lüscher, P. 2005: Waldböden der Schweiz. Volume 2. Regionen Alpen und Alpensüdseite. Birmensdorf, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL. Bern, Hep Verlag, 920 pp.
- Zimmermann, S., Luster, J., Blaser, P., Walthert, L., Lüscher, P. (2006): Waldböden der Schweiz. Volume 3. Regionen Mittelland und Voralpen. Birmensdorf, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL. Bern, Hep Verlag. 848 pp.
- Ott, E., Frehner, M., Frey, H.-U., Lüscher, P., 1997: Gebirgsnadelwälder. Ein praxisorientierter Leitfaden für eine standortgerechte Waldbehandlung. Haupt, Bern. 287 pp.
- Blume, H.P., Brümmer, G., Horn, R., Kandeler, E., Kögel-Knabner, I., Kretzschmar, R., Stahr, K., Wilke, B.M. 2010. Scheffer/Schachtschabel, Lehrbuch der Bodenkunde, 16th edition, Spektrum Akademischer Verlage, Heidelberg, 569 pp.
Prerequisites / Notice- Practical field work as a basis for a presentation held during class is part of the requirement. Workload approximately 1 day.
- Each learning unit of 2 hours will be organised as follows. A lecture of one hour is followed by an hour of autonomous study in working groups on a selected topic.
- It is required that students have some knowledge in practical Soil Science (recommended: Integrated applied soil course, 4th semester, and courses of the specialization "Wald und Landschaft", part site classification (soil science & phytosociology) 6th semester)
751-3402-00LPlant Nutrition II - Integrated Nutrient Management Restricted registration - show details
Only for Students in BSc/MSc Agricultural Sciences and Students in MSc Environmental or Food Sciences.
Number of participants limited to 40.
W2 credits2VA. Oberson Dräyer
AbstractTeaching knowledge on nutrient fluxes in agroecosystems so as to maximize nutrient use efficiency by crops and minimize losses to the environment while providing optimal nutrient supply to crops. Methods to establish nutrient budgets are presented. Nutrient input and output variables (e.g. losses by various pathways) are treated and their optimal management presented.
ObjectiveAt the end of the lecture the students can establish nutrient budgets, can critically evaluate agricultural systems as source of elements for the environment and can propose agricultural practices that limit these losses while maximizing nutrient use efficiency and optimizing nutrient supply to crops.
ContentThis course provides understanding of integrated nutrient management in agro-ecosystems so as to maximize nutrient use efficiency by crops while minimizing nutrient losses to the environment at optimal nutrient supply to the crop. The characteristics of input and output variables will be treated. These variables encompass organic (e.g. animal manure, plant residues, recycled organic wastes) and mineral fertilizers (e.g. minerals and products from recycling), symbiotic nitrogen fixation, nutrient deposition and pathways of nutrient losses. Measures to mitigate nutrient losses to the environment will be presented. Different methods will be taught so as to calculate nutrient budgets at various levels of the agro-ecosystem. Using case studies on nutrient rich and nutrient poor agro-ecosystems, strategies for an optimal nutrient management will be discussed that integrate attributes of soils, plants and fertilizers.

In particular the treatment of case studies results in interactive lectures. Exercises done outside the classes help to foster the matter. Finally, they work on a focal topic of their interest. This is either i) the analysis and presentation of a paper, or ii) the analysis of the nutrient status of a farm by the means of nutrient budgeting and the development of integrated fertilization system including a modified scenario of that farm. In either case, they work in groups and present the outcome in an oral presentation (including peer feedback) of in a short written report.
701-0522-01LApplied Soil EcologyW2 credits2GA. M. Gramlich
AbstractThis self-guided e-learning course gives students the possibility to deepen their knowledge and understanding in important areas of soil science and to apply it in little case studies to real-world problems.
ObjectiveTo deepen the knowledge and understanding of important topics in soil science and to learn by means of selected example cases– how this knowledge can be applied to solve in real-world problems in soil use and protection.
ContentThe course consists of 8 modules, of which three must be worked through to gain 2 credit points: 1) water storage in soil, 2) dynamics of soil organic matter, 3) soil erosion, 4) soil aeration and soil compaction, 5) soil acidification, 6) fertility and sustainable use of soil, 7) soil contamination and remediation, 8) soil salinization
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic knowledge in soil sciences.
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