An abridged, student-oriented edition of Hillel's earlier published Environmental Soil Physics, this is a more succinct elucidation of the physical principles and processes governing the behavior of soil and the vital role it plays in both natural and managed ecosystems. The textbook is self-contained and self-explanatory, with numerous illustrations and sample problems. Based on sound fundamental theory, the textbook leads to a practical consideration of soil as a living system in nature and illustrates the influences of human activity upon soil structure and function. Students, as well as other readers, will better understand the importance of soils and the pivotal possition they occupy with respect to careful and knowledgeable conservation.

Key Features

* Written in an engaging and clear style, posing and resolving issues relevant to the terrestrial environment. * Explores the gamut of the interactions among the phases in the soil and the dynamic interconnection of the soil with the subterranean and atmospheric domains. * Reveals the salient ideas, approaches, and methods of environmental soil physics. * Includes numerous illustrative exercises, which are explicitly solved. * Designed to serve for classroom and laboratory instruction, for self-study, and for reference. * Oriented toward practical problems in ecology, field-scale hydrology, agronomy, and civil engineering. * Differs from earlier texts in its wider scope and holistic environmental conception


Students in soil chemistry and physics, as well as other environmental disciplines.

Table of Contents

Preface Part I: Basic Relationships 1. Soil Physics and Soil Physical Characteristics 2. Water Properties in Relation to Porous Media Part II: The Solid Phase 3. Particle Sizes, Shapes, and Specific Surface 4. Clay, the Colloidal Component 5. Soil Structure and Aggregation Part III: The Liquid Phase 6. Water Content and Potential in the Soil 7. Water Flow in Saturated Soil 8. Water Flow in Unsaturated Soil 9. Solute Movement and Soil Salinity Part IV: The Gaseous Phase 10. Gas Content and Composition in the Soil 11. Gas Movement and Exchange with the Atmosphere Part V: Composite Phenomena 12. Temperature and Heat Flow in the Soil 13. Stress, Strain, and Strength of Soil Bodies Part VI: The Field Water Cycle14. Water Entry into Soil 15. Surface Runoff and Water Erosion 16. Redistribution and Retention of Water in Soil 17. Groundwater Drainage and Pollution 18. Evaporation from Bare Soil and Wind Erosion Part VII: Soil-Plant-Water Relations 19. Plant Uptake of Soil Moisture 20. Water Balance and Energy Balance in the Field 21. Irrigation and Water Use Efficiency Bibliography Index


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© 2003
Academic Press
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About the author

Daniel Hillel

Born in California and raised in Israel, Dr. Daniel Hillel acquired an early and lifelong love of the land and a commitment to understanding and protecting the natural environment. Through decades of work in some thirty countries, he has become an international authority on sustainable management of land and water resources. Dr. Hillel has served as professor of soil physics, hydrology and the environmental sciences at leading universities in the U.S. and abroad, and has been a consultant to the World Bank and the United Nations. Among the honors he has received are the Chancellor's Medal for Exemplary Service at the University of Massachusetts , a Guggenheim award, and Doctorates of Science honoris causa by Guelph University of Canada and Ohio State University . Dr. Hillel is an elected Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the Soil Science Society of America, and the American Society of Agronomy and was granted the Distinguished Service Award by the latter societies. He has published well over 300 scientific papers and research reports, and authored or edited twenty two books. His definitive textbooks on environmental physics have been use by universities and research institutions throughout the world and have been translated into twelve languages.

Affiliations and Expertise

Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts, U.S.A.


" excellent introductory text for an undergraduate course in soil physics. The book is well written and nicely presents the major topics of soil physics through the use of sidebars, boxes, worked example problems, color graphics, and informative figures and tables...the book provides a comprehensive list of recent and classic references for the reader to obtain more detailed information on the major topics covered...As a soil physics text, I've always appreciated that the author includes a treatment of water table fluctuation dynamics and an introduction to groundwater flow in confined and unconfined aquifers." - Nels Ruud, Furgo West Inc., Oakland, California, U.S.A. "...recommended it to be used both by the students of environmental, agricultural and engineering, and also by specialists of this field. We are convinced that this study will open a new scientific research horizon in the field of soil physics." - Professor Corneliu Cismaru, Ph.D. "As usual, Dr. Daniel Hillel has prepared a carefully and clearly worded exposition on the physical properties and processes that occur in or on a soil. My students have always praised his books and I am sure this one will enhance that reputation. In addition to students, this work can help those who are concerned about the environment or who depend on the soil for their livelihood." - Dr. Daniel D. Fritton Professor of Soil Physics Pennsylvania State University "For over thirty years, students of soil science, agronomy, hydrology, engineering, and ecology have learned the principles of soil physics from the series of books by Professor Daniel Hillel -- books noted for their definitive clarity of expression, profound insights, and wide scope. The present version, remarkably, exceeds its predecessors in all categories. It updates the topic and integrates it within the larger