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Soil in the Environment - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123485366, 9780080554969

Soil in the Environment

1st Edition

Crucible of Terrestrial Life

Author: Daniel Hillel
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123485366
eBook ISBN: 9780080554969
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 14th December 2007
Page Count: 320
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Soil in the Environment is key for every course in soil science, earth science, and environmental disciplines. This textbook engages students to critically look at soil as the central link in the function and creation of the terrestrial environment.

For the first time, Dr. Hillel brilliantly discusses soils as a natural body that is engaged in dynamic interaction with the atmosphere above and the strata below that influences the planet's climate and hydrological cycle, and serves as the primary habitat for a versatile community of living organisms.

The book offers a larger perspective of soil’s impact on the environment by organizing chapters among three main processes: Physical, Chemical, and Biology. It is organized in a student-friendly format with examples, discussion boxes, and key definitions in every chapter.

The book provides students of geology, physical science, and environmental studies with fundamental information and tools for meeting the natural resource challenges of the 21st century, while providing students of soil science and ecology with the understanding of physical and biological interactions necessary for sustainability.

Key Features

  • First textbook to unite soil science and the environment beyond what is traditionally taught
  • Incorporates current knowledge of such hot topics as climate change, pollution control, human expropriation of natural resources, and the prospects for harmonious and sustainable development
  • Organized in a student-friendly format with examples, discussion boxes, and key definitions in every chapter
  • Full color throughout


Advanced undergraduate professors who teach courses in Soil Physics, Soil Geography, Soil Ecology, Soil Chemistry, Geophysics, Environmental Geography, Environmental Science, Earth Science, Physical Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Soil as a Living Body: Its Dynamic Role in the Environment
  2. Soil in the History of Civilization
  3. Soil Formation
  4. Soil Classification
  5. Soil Physical Attributes
  6. Soil-Water Statics
  7. Soil-Water Dynamics
  8. Soil-Water Cycle
  9. Soil-Water and Soil-Energy Balances in the Field
  10. Soil Chemical Attributes and Processes
  11. Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition
  12. Soil Biodiversity
  13. Soil and Water Management
  14. Soil Erosion and Conservation
  15. Soil Pollution and Remediation
  16. Concluding Overview

APPENDIX A: The Role of Soil inthe Mitigation of Global Warming APPENDIX B: The Role of Soil in the Global Food Supply


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2008
14th December 2007
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

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.


"What a great textbook for students of the environmental sciences and a reference book for scientists seeking cutting-edge practical applications of theories. The author produced a very well written and organized book with historical and modern perspectives, matched with excellent graphics. WOW!" - Dr. Leticia S. Sonon, Soil, Plant, and Water Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, USA "As current university soil courses more and more blend agriculture and environmental issues this text will become a standard. The topics provide insightful coverage of soil in sustaining two basic human needs, a quality food supply and a livable environment, both needs on which future global dependency will rise, not diminish. This text is the right resource for the right time, it's perfect for the new type of introductory soil course appearing on college campuses." - Steve Thien, Kansas State University, USA "Soil in the Environment is an excellent introductory text addressing the importance of soils in ecosystems and the environment. It would be an outstanding choice as the text for a university core science course introducing students to soil science. Core science courses are required for all non-science students at almost all major universities and colleges as part of a well-rounded university education. The textbook could also serve as a very good textbook for an introductory soil science course for ecologists, landscape architects, and other students who need a good exposure to the fundamentals of soil science for their future careers, but who might be overwhelmed by a comprehensive soil science text. Students taking soils related courses at community colleges could also find this textbook potentially useful. The textbook is written in Dr. Hillel's easy to understand style and he has made liberal use of high quality figures and tables. The ample use of color figures and diagrams is partcularly striking. The author has also included blue boxed text areas throughout the book that illustrate real world practical examples of the material being discussed in that chapter. The examples included in these blue boxed areas are critically important in making the subject being discussed pertinent to students and help retain their interest when reading. There is also a well conceived and thoughtful glossary included at the end of the textbook. " - Dr. Robert L. Hill, Professor of Soil Physics, Soil & Water Management, Dep. of Environmental Science & Technology, University of Maryland College Park, USA "I find this book full of fascination and passion for soil knowledge. Dr. Hillel vividly depicts the importance of soil and why we should care about it while he walks us through both a general and broad understanding of soil science. I consider it the perfect tool for captivating new generations of soil scientists whom, for sure, will readily become Homo sapiens curans after this reading. This book could be used as a core text in introductory courses for non soil science students and as an additional reading for soil science students." - Nadia Martínez-Villegas, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA "All of his writings are in a crisp, straight-forward language, but in his current text, I find Dr. Hillel to be more philosophical in his approach to soil physics education. In the classroom environment and his earlier texts, he was more quantitative than philosophical; just the opposite in this one, without losing the tenor required of an introductory text in soil physics. Other than his “Rivers of Eden” book, this is the most readable text yet published on the subject. The beginning student is guided through the text with witty and interesting insights into history. He doesn’t pass up the opportunity to give example problems for the student to work through, but the book is not overloaded with calculations, something that most beginning students in soil science might find comforting. The professor who uses this text for a basic class in soil physics will find it completely fulfilling in that subject matter, and it will also provide the students with a rich background in ecological interactions between soil, crop, population growth, and the environment. New in this publication by Dr. Hillel, is the inclusion of appendices where he talks about the role soil plays in the mitigation of global warming (Appendix A), and the role soil plays in the global food supply (Appendix B). Both are chuck-full of useful information that is thought-provoking for tomorrow’s leaders in soil and other sciences. This is definitely a text for use in college soil physics classes, an excellent one for reference for horticulturists like myself, and, I would submit, any communications medium that purports to inform the public on environmental and agricultural issues with research-based information." - Dr. Ronald Smith, North Dakota State University, Department of Plant Sciences, Fargo, USA "This book provides a compact review of the material necessary for anyone interested in understanding the interaction of soils with the other components of our environment. As an excellent teaching tool, the book is organized in a logical manner beginning with the basic soil concepts, followed by topics highlighting the role of soil in the plant-water–air ecosystems, and concluding with an overview of the impact of population growth on the world’s agricultural soils. Students and instructors will find the glossary presented at the end of the book very useful as both a study guide and a quick reference for technical terms." - Dave Goorahoo, California State University, Fresno, USA "Soil in the Environment links soil science, environmental studies, civil engineering, geology, and life science...valuable reference for undergraduate students, [including] important issues such as global warming and climatic change, soil energy balance, and food production demand. I plan to use it with other references for teaching soil science course (for sophomore students) in the college of agriculture sciences. " - Ahmed Al-wadaey

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