The spring semester 2021 will take place online until further notice. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence. Please note the information provided by the lecturers.

751-5201-00L  Tropical Soils and Land Use

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersJ. Six, A. Hofmann
Periodicitytwo-yearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

AbstractThis course guides students in analyzing and comprehending tropical agroecosystems. Students gain practical knowledge of field methods, diagnostic tools and survey methods for tropical soils and agroecosystems. An integral part of the course is the two-week field project in Western Kenya, which is co-organized with University of Eldoret (Kenya) and KU Leuven (Belgium).
ObjectiveLectures and exercises:
(1) Introduction to international soil classification with focus on tropical soils
(2) Soil suitability (chemical, physical and biological fertility) for tropical crops
(3) Soil conservation practices and stakeholder involvement
(4) Approaches to analyzing tropical agroecosystems

Field project:
(5) Overview of the major land use systems in Western Kenya
(6) Analysis of agricultural production systems
(7) Hands-on training on the use of field methods, diagnostic tools and survey methods
(8) Collaboration in international student teams (MSc students from Switzerland, Belgium and Kenya)
LiteratureBlume, H.-P. et al. (2016) Scheffer/Schachtschabel Soil Science. Springer. PDF for download (within ETH network):

FAO (2015) World reference base for soil resources 2014: International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. Update 2015. PDF for download:

FAO (2006) Guidelines for soil description. PDF for Download:

Jones, A. et al. (2013) Soil Atlas of Africa. European Commission, 176 pp. PDF for Download:

Zech, W., Hintermaier-Erhard, G. (2016) Soils of the World. Springer. German version PDF for download (within ETH network):
Prerequisites / NoticeThe number of participants is limited to 12 students due to capacity limitations for the field project in Kenya. Selection of participants will be based on (1) the student's motivation statement, (2) successful participation in the BSc lectures "Sustainable Agroecosystems I + II" and (3) related topic for BSc thesis/ tentative topic for MSc thesis. The motivation statement is due in the first week of the semester.