SGL-32806 Soil and Landscape Variability


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical12
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. JJ Stoorvogel
Lecturer(s)dr. RGM de Goede
dr. ir. VL Mulder
dr. ir. JJ Stoorvogel
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JJ Stoorvogel

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety and ZSS06200 Fieldwork Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

SBL-21806 Soil Quality; SGL-22306     Geology, Soils and Landscapes of the Northwest European lowlands; GRS-10306 Introduction Geo-information Science; MAT-15403 Statistics 2.


The landscape is a complex system characterized by numerous properties that often vary in space and time. We can learn about the functioning of a landscape by studying its properties, their variability and their relationships. This course combines thematic knowledge gained in courses on soil science, geology, geomorphology, ecology and hydrology with skills you acquired in courses in statistics, dynamic modelling and GIS. Statistical measures that characterize variability and relationships are reviewed and extended with geo-statistical measures of spatial variability. Simulation models are used to gain insight in the dynamic behaviour of landscapes and soils. Theory and methods are illustrated with real-world examples. Real-world case studies are also extensively used in the computer exercises. The course also includes a research project involving fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and use of mechanistic models and statistical analysis. This project addresses the description, modelling and interpretation of the spatial variation and its ecological effects.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe variability in and relationships between soil and landscape properties with statistical measures;
- infer dominant soil and landscape processes from these statistical measures;
- analyse how variability propagates through simple environmental process models, using simple mechanistic models;
- design data collection and analysis strategies that account for spatial variability in soil and landscape properties;
- analyse data collected in the field to answer a self-defined research question.


- lectures;
- (field) practicals:
- laboratory work, data analysis and computer modelling.


- written test: individual, open questions (60%);
- written assignment (15%);
- written group project proposal (10%);
- poster group presentation (15%).


Reader, handouts and tutorials of computer practicals.

Restricted Optional for: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc3WD