Footprints in the Soil

People and Ideas in Soil History

Edited by

  • Benno Warkentin, Oregon Water Resources Research Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA

The history of science discipline is contributing valuable knowledge of the culture of soil understanding, of the conditions in society that fostered the ideas, and of why they developed in certain ways. This book is about the progressive “footprints” made by scientists in the soil. It contains chapters chosen from important topics in the development of soil science, and tells the story of the people and the exciting ideas that contributed to our present understanding of soils. Initiated by discussions within the Soil Science Society of America and the International Union of Soil Sciences, this book uniquely illustrates the significance of soils to our society. It is planned for soils students, for various scientific disciplines, and for members of the public who show an increasing interest in soil. This book allows us to answer the questions: “How do we know what we know about soils?” and “How did one step or idea lead to the next one?”The chapters are written by an international group of authors, each with special interests, bound together by the central theme of soils and how we came to our present understanding of soils. Each concentrate on soil knowledge in the western world and draw primarily on written accounts available in English and European languages. Academics, graduate students, researchers and practitioners will gain new insights from these studies of how ideas in soil science and understanding of uses of soils developed.
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Soil scientists, academics, graduate students, researchers and practitioners interested in terrestrial ecosystems and soil geography, ecologists, historians of agriculture and environment


Book information

  • Published: April 2006
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-444-52177-4


"The volume covers a broad scope of interests: regionally, chronologically, historically, enviornmentally, and in terms of pedological processes. In addition to discussing ways of studying soil through history, it considers the linkages between soils and people, communities, and cultures. In doing so, it also illuminates the linkages between soil scientists and their individual and collective methodologies with their own disciplines, professions, and cultures...This volume can be read and should be read by anybody with an interest in soil." -Norm Catto, Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Nl, Canada, QUARTERNARY INTERNATIONAL "...I sincerely recommend the book to all...Several times I found myself wishing that my formative soils teachers had provided me with some of the material in the book as a background to the material they put before me...This book covers a lot of ground...if you wish to broaden your general soils knowledge it's a fascinating read. There are also extensive references in all chapters to which the inspired reader can follow up on the information presented...Thus I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has a connection with the soil." - T.J. Clough, Dep. of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Lincoln University, in Soil Science of America Journal

Table of Contents

AcknowledementPreface Section I Early Understanding of Soils1. Soil Scientists in Ancient Rome—V. Winiwarter2. Aztec Knowledge of Soils, Soil Ecology and Management—B. Williams3. The Heritage of Soil Knowledge Among the World’s Cultures—J. Sandor, A. Winkler-Prins, N. Barrera-Bassols, and J.A. Zinck4. Some Major Scientists Describing Soil Profiles and Developing Soil Investigation Techniques Before 1880—C. Feller, E. Blanchart, and D. Yaalon5. Souls and Soils: A Survey of Worldviews—V. Winiwarter and W. Blum Section IISoil as a Natural Body6. The Roots of Dokuchaev’s Scientific Contributions: Cadastral Soil Mapping and Agro-Environmental Issues—C. Evtuhov7. Philosophical Developments in Pedology in the United States: Eugene Hilgard and Milton Whitney—R. Amundson8. Development of the Soil Cover Pattern and Catena Concepts—A. Gennadiyev and J. Bockheim9. The History of Soil Geomorphology in the United States—V. Holliday Section IIISoil Properties and Processes10. Soils in Ecology and Ecology in Soils—D. Binkley11. History of Soil Biology—J. Berthelin, U. Babel, and F. Toutain12. Historical Aspects of Soil Chemistry—D. Sparks13. The Changing Understanding of Physical Properties of Soils: Water Flow and Soil Architecture—S. Hasegawa and B. Warkentin Section IVSoil Uses and Users14. Soil Erosion and Conservation: An International History and a Cautionary Tale—K. Showers15. Stewardship and Soil Health—E. Gregorich, G. Sparling and J. Gregorich16. Soil Nutrient Management for Plant Growth—A. Finck17. Soils and Environmental Issues—T. Addiscott18. Ancient Agricultural Terraces and Soils—J. Sandor