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Footprints in the Soil - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444521774, 9780080477879

Footprints in the Soil

1st Edition

People and Ideas in Soil History

Editor: Benno Warkentin
eBook ISBN: 9780080477879
Hardcover ISBN: 9780444521774
Imprint: Elsevier Science
Published Date: 18th April 2006
Page Count: 572
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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.

Key Features

  • Discusses tracing soils knowledge accumulated from Roman times, first by soil users and after 1800s by scientists
    * Offers ideas about how soils knowledge was influenced by the social context and by human needs
    * Combines the history of ideas with scientific knowledge of soils
    * Written by chapter authors who combine subject matter expertise with knowledge of practical soil uses, and provide numerous references for further study of the relevant literature


Soil scientists, academics, graduate students, researchers and practitioners interested in terrestrial ecosystems and soil geography, ecologists, historians of agriculture and environment

Table of Contents


Section I
Early Understanding of Soils
1. Soil Scientists in Ancient Rome—V. Winiwarter
2. Aztec Knowledge of Soils, Soil Ecology and Management—B. Williams
3. The Heritage of Soil Knowledge Among the World’s Cultures—J. Sandor, A. Winkler-Prins, N. Barrera-Bassols, and J.A. Zinck
4. Some Major Scientists Describing Soil Profiles and Developing Soil Investigation Techniques Before 1880—C. Feller, E. Blanchart, and D. Yaalon
5. Souls and Soils: A Survey of Worldviews—V. Winiwarter and W. Blum

Section II
Soil as a Natural Body
6. The Roots of Dokuchaev’s Scientific Contributions: Cadastral Soil Mapping and Agro-Environmental Issues—C. Evtuhov
7. Philosophical Developments in Pedology in the United States: Eugene Hilgard and Milton Whitney—R. Amundson
8. Development of the Soil Cover Pattern and Catena Concepts—A. Gennadiyev and J. Bockheim
9. The History of Soil Geomorphology in the United States—V. Holliday

Section III
Soil Properties and Processes
10. Soils in Ecology and Ecology in Soils—D. Binkley
11. History of Soil Biology—J. Berthelin, U. Babel, and F. Toutain
12. Historical Aspects of Soil Chemistry—D. Sparks
13. The Changing Understanding of Physical Properties of Soils: Water Flow and Soil Architecture—S. Hasegawa and B. Warkentin

Section IV
Soil Uses and Users
14. Soil Erosion and Conservation: An International History and a Cautionary Tale—K. Showers
15. Stewardship and Soil Health—E. Gregorich, G. Sparling and J. Gregorich
16. Soil Nutrient Management for Plant Growth—A. Finck
17. Soils and Environmental Issues—T. Addiscott
18. Ancient Agricultural Terraces and Soils—J. Sandor


No. of pages:
© Elsevier Science 2006
18th April 2006
Elsevier Science
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Editor

Benno Warkentin

Affiliations and Expertise

Oregon Water Resources Research Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA


"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

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