Block 2 Exploring Agriculture through Plants, Soil, Biogeochemistry

I am currently teaching EV 211 – Human Impacts on Global Biogeochemical Cycles

In this course we explore the large biogeochemical cycles of our planet (N, C, P, S) plus water. By the end of the block students should know how they work (i.e. the chemical, biological, and geological mechanisms that drive them) and how humans have altered them. We will explore this intersection primarily through the lens of agriculture via multiple methods – peer reviewed literature, modeling, lab, and field techniques.

Students surveying plants and collecting soil samples at Larga Vista Ranch

We visited Doug Wiley’s Larga Vista Ranch outside of Pueblo, CO. Doug Wiley has taken a biophysical approach to his land for the last several decades and hasn’t used pesticides and rarely tills in an effort to build soil carbon. This year we sampled across his rotational field systems (pasture 5-6 yrs – sorghum – vegetables – sorghum – repeat) to examine shifts in soil C and N, bulk density, soil moisture in conjunction with plant diversity.

Students sampling soil and surveying plants to address questions surrounding Doug Wiley’s rotation system (here at the intersection of pasture and sorghum).