Environmental Soil Science

Course content

This competence-line course teaches state-of the art research within the field of environmental soil science.

The main topic for the course is: Soil functional and structural responses and feedbacks in relation to environmental and human stressors. Within this frame the course presents and discuss examples of impacts on soil conditions in relation to extreme events (drought, fires), climatic changes, area use and management. Examples are presented from studies in temperate as well as arctic regions.

The product of the course is a written assignment based on data (GIS) extracted from Danish soil and land-use databases


MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics with a minor subject


Learning outcome


  • The course addresses specific topics on soil functions in the outlined perspective

  • Soil nutrient circulation with main focus on carbon and nitrogen
  • Soil organic carbon (SOC)-stocks
  • Soil rhizosphere dynamics and assessment of root biomass and function
  • Soil greenhouse gas (GHG) balances, including calculation of soil GHG production at different scales
  • Management options to mitigate soil GHG emissions



  • Read, present and discuss scientific literature related to the course subjects.
  • Use correct scientific definitions and terms.
  • Identify and select model-tools for stock assessments
  • Use algorithms to calculate SOC stocks, soil N-turnover and GHG balances in Danish farmland based on own data drawn from databases on land-use and soil characteristics.



  • Identify and work out proposal for solving complex geographical problems using theory, data and methods.
  • Apply, evaluate and analyze methods, theories and data related to the course subjects.
  • Give short, concise and well-illustrated oral presentation on the basis of scientific papers.
  • Evaluate current soil inventory data based on own calculations and discuss deviations
  • Write a short, concise report

The form of teaching is theoretical exercises combined with ad hoc lectures. We will also read, present and discuss scientific literature during the course. For the teaching plan, please see Absalon.

Please see Absalon

BSc in Geography and Geoinformatics or equivalent education is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, Ongoing preparation throughout the course
Oral examination, 20 minutes
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list and the written assignment. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 171
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • English
  • 206