Soils and Geoecology

Mt Shasta, High Camp Basin and Mt Eddy

Geoecosystems, from the geologic substrata and soils to the biotic communities they support, are the units of geoecology

Plants are the primary producers in geoecosystems. They capture radiant energy from the sun and convert it to organic matter, which becomes the fuel for other organisms in the geoecosystems. Plants require about 15 chemical elements and they get all of them, except carbon, from soils. Even hydrogen and oxygen are taken from water that enters plants through their roots. Plants cannot take nitrogen, which is the most abundant element in the atmosphere, directly from air but rely upon soil microorganisms to fix it in a form that is available  to the plants. The roots of geoecosystems are in soils. They are essential for the functioning of healthy geoecosystems and, and for the welfare of all  forms of life.

A Natural Geoecosystem

Serpentinized peridotite subtsratum, a shallow Inceptisol, and a Jeffrey pine/greenleaf manzanita–buckbrush plant community.

             Young to Old Soils


A. An Entisol in tephra (pumice), with a

lodgepole pine–western white pine forest.


B. An Ultisol in serpentinized peridotite colluvium in a post-fire forest with a western white pine–lodgepole pine/scrub tanoak–hairy manzanita--evergreen huckleberry/bear grass community.

       Books on Soils and Geoecology


Soils in Natural Landscapes


Serpentine Geoecology of North America Arctic to Tropical


Soils and Vegetation of California and Nevada Landscapes

             Soils Survey Examples