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Climate Change and Soil Formation in Southern England - Essay Example

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Soil formation and soil change occurs over an extended period of many years. A young soil gets many of its characteristics and features from its parent soil which is the soil where it originated from (Bridges, 1997, 18). As it forms and changes, it obtains nutrients and other organic matters that help it grow and develop…
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Climate Change and Soil Formation in Southern England
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Download file to see previous pages At the same time there has also been an increase in the population, and a change in the way individuals make a living and support themselves and their families. The first people to live in southern England were hunters and gatherers, but they slowly evolved into farmers as more people inhabited the area and methods of farming improved. Later, another change occurred with the coming of the Industrial Revolution, which changed farmers into industrial workers. These changes, along with climate changes have had an impact on the soil in southern England (Jarvis, 1984, 12).
The start of climate change and its effect on soil began in southern England with the ice age. Approximately one-third of the earth was covered in snow and ice, and due to its location in the northern hemisphere, England was affected. While much of the country was covered year round with ice and snow, the southern parts occasionally had periods where the temperature would raise enough to melt some of the snow and ice and provide precipitation for the soil underneath (Bridges, 1997, 36). However, due to the cold temperatures, the ice age slowed the process of soil formation and change, essentially slowing the rate soil was able to intake precipitation. It also slowed the speed at which organic matter decomposed and the rate of plant and vegetation growth. This in return slowed the rate at which the soil could consume needed nutrients and organic matter, which slowed the entire process of formation and change.
The ice age made an important contribution to the soil of southern England by bringing in new soil. The ice and snow that covered the area was brought from the north, and with it came a large amount of debris that included fine particles, small rocks, and even huge boulders (Bridges, 1997, 36). When the ice melted, the debris remained and became embedded in the soil. This provided the ground with a large amount of parent material in which young soil was able to begin formation and maturation. In certain areas, the effects of the ice age on soil and landscape can still be seen today.
After the ice age passed and the climate changed to warmer weather, people started migrating from other parts of Europe into England. This was considered the Neolithic period and started around 4500 B.C. This period of time was essentially similar to the Stone Age, when houses, buildings, fences, etc. where all constructed out of rocks and stones. Many of these structures still exist, while others have been torn down or broken apart. This had an impact on the soil in southern England, due to the fact that remnants of this period, in the form of small rocks can be found embedded in the soil in certain areas. In addition, during this time and even into the Bronze Age, individuals moving to England were beginning to develop agriculture fields. These early farmers impacted the soil on their land by using domestic waste as fertilizer to provide extra nutrients and organic materials to the soil and the crops they were trying to grow.
In addition to using fertilize during the Bronze Age to change the soil, tools, such as the plow, were introduced that assisted individuals in developing fields for agriculture. This led to farmers having the ability to grow a crop, plow the ground, and immediately replant a new crop. The constant presence of plant growth on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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