The paradigm and models of traditional soil science lack the ability to adequately address issues of soil dynamics, environmental integration, and change. Unexplainable research results obtained from traditional soil studies applied to non-traditional soil phenomena in physical geography, archaeology and ecology speak to the current need for soil science to move beyond description and classification and into a dynamic process-oriented soil science capable of providing explanations. Soils do not behave as static inert geologic detritus affected by climate, organisms, relief, and parent material through time, but instead soils behave as self-organizing systems dynamically interrelating with their environment. Recognition of this dynamic behaviour required a re-examination of how scientists in general think and in how modern soil science specifically evolved its basic paradigms and models.

This book examines the dynamics of soil organic carbon and demonstrates the self-organizing nature of soil through time as soil responds to a wide range of environmental and human perturbations.

Key Features

  • Makes soil science accessible to a wider audience by integrating soil science with biology, geography and archaeology
  • Demonstrates universal application by including case studies from around the world
  • Avoids pitfalls of determinism and vitalism by being well founded in the philosophy of science


Geomorphologists, Ecologists, Archaeologists, Geoarchaeologists and Soil Scientists

Table of Contents


1. Introduction to a Dynamic Process-Oriented Soil Science

2. Soil Science in Historical and Philosophical Perspective

3. Self-Organization as a Result of Perturbations in a Dynamic Process-Oriented Soil Science

4. Soil Physiology

5. The OCR Procedure as Applied Dynamic Process-Oriented Soil Science

6. Applications of OCR Dating

7. Implications and Potentials of a Process-Oriented Soil Science

8. Summary



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© 2011
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About the author

Douglas Frink

Affiliations and Expertise

Worcester State University, MA, USA