SLM-52303 Sustainable Soil Management: Soil4Life


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. X Yang
dr. NLMB Schaik
dr. ir. MJPM Riksen
Lecturer(s)dr. X Yang
dr. NLMB Schaik
dr. ir. MJPM Riksen
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MJPM Riksen

Language of instruction:



Soils represent one of our most important natural resources and is the foundation for our terrestrial based life on Earth. Yet ironically, it is one of the most neglected of our resources. We eat from it, we build on it, we drive on it, we dig it up ... but, as a society, we play precious little attention to caring for and understanding more about this critically important resource. Soil degradation might be induced by water and wind erosion, salinization, local contamination and diffuse pollution, loss of organic matter, soil fertility decline, soil compaction, acidification, soil sealing, ultimately leading to a loss of soil related ecosystem services, impacting our lives in both rural and urban areas. This course explores the core issues, soil degradation processes, management and decision-making processes that makes explicit our concern for soils real, and the need for action paramount, in ensuring the long-term sustainability of global food supply and other important soil-related ecosystem services.

More course information and instructions on how to register can be found on: or click on the top-right link on this page.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain why soils and sustainable soil management are so important;
- explain how soils form, their functions and basics of soil degradation;
- understand the basic soil water relations, soil fertility and soil biodiversity;
- understand effects of and solutions for: Soil erosion, soil pollution and soil salinization;
- understand the basic socio-economic and policy aspects of sustainable soil management.


Students will study the knowledge clips and reading materials offered online and will do formative assignments with automatic and/or peer feedback. Students need to complete all 10 modules of this course before entering the on campus exam. The students are obliged to make the final assignment (module 10) and hand it in through Brightspace.


The examination consists of the final assignment module 10 (40% of the final mark) and a written examination taken on campus (60% of the final mark). Both marks need to be at least 5.5.
The final assignment module 10 needs to be uploaded on Brightspace and or send by surffilesender to  The examinations will take place during the (resit-)examination periods in February and July.


All materials are made available at the Edx website for MOOCs. (