Vital Soil, Volume 29

1st Edition

Function, Value and Properties

Print ISBN: 9780444545756
eBook ISBN: 9780080474786
Imprint: Elsevier Science
Published Date: 3rd November 2004
Page Count: 358
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Healthy soil, with active soil life, deters long-term soil degradation and ensures that geo-physical processes are undisturbed. Is the vitality of soil under threat due to human civilization? Or is it due to contamination, intensification, and deforestation? Vital Soil aims to look at the effects society is having on soil and contains contributions from recognized experts in soil science.

Key Features

  • Function and value of vital soils
  • Detailed information on how to prevent soil from irreversible stresses
  • Articles on soil life aiming to bridge the gap between science and practice from experienced and well known contributors


Researchers, scientists, & professionals in the soil sciences, earth sciences, and agronomy fields

Table of Contents

List of contributors. Foreword. Preface. Acknowledgements.

I. Introduction.

  1. Leading concepts towards vital soil (H. Eijsackers).II. General aspects of vital soils.
  2. The formation of soils (N. van Breemen).
  3. Vegetation, organic matter and soil quality (W.H.O. Ernst).
  4. Soil biota and activity (H.A. Verhoef).III. Integrative approaches in soil biology.
  5. The key role of soil microbes (W. Verstraete, B. Mertens).
  6. The use of soil invertebrates in ecological surveys of contaminated soils (N.M. van Straalen).
  7. Balance and stability in vital soils (P.C. de Ruiter).
  8. Soil and higher organisms: from bottom-up relations to top-down monitoring (N.W. van den Brink).IV. Natural attenuation and monitoring.
  9. Fate of contaminants in soil (W.J.G.M. Peijnenburg).
  10. Ecological soil monitoring and quality assessment (A.M. Breure).V. Synthesis and outlook.
  11. Synthesis for soil management (P. Doelman). Subject index.


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"...a creation by a Belgian-Dutch coalition with a multi-disciplinary approach to soils. This is an unshamed attempt to consider all the components of applied soil science. It works because the editors have genuinely integrated the content of each chapter and then weaved the material into a coherent text...All researchers in soil science will find much value in this book and I would urge those at the periphery of traditional soil science departments to acquire copies. It was only on reflecting on the title that I recognized that it had dual meaning. First, the book enforces the role of soil as a multi-media (biotic and abiotic) compartment, hence "vital soil". Second, the book examines the vital components in developing an understanding of soil. The diagrams and tables facilitate a new interpretation beyond those found in standard texts. This book presents a new integrated approach to soil science through a well structured, critical and easy to follow approach." -Graeme I. Paton, in SOIL USE AND MANAGEMENT "...the authors have presented a strong foundation of issues relevant for protection of soils around the world...there is a rich reference list at the end of most chapters that will be a great informative reference piece especially for Europeans, but also for scientists from other parts of the world searching for a framework and diverse examples to describe soil responses to man-induced disturbances." -A.J. Franzluebbers, USA- Agricultural Research Service, Watkinsville, Georgia, U.S.A., in AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS "Viewed in its entirety, this book is a most thought-provoking and useful synthesis of the 'state of the art' of soils as inherently vital entities, where the basic and applied aspects of soil science interact repeatedly to the wonderment and delight of environmental scientists and practitioners worldwide. The book is a 'must read' for advanced undergraduate and gr