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Encyclopedia > Pedology (soil study)

Pedology (pědǒ'lōgy), (from Russian: pedologiya, from the Greek pedon = soil, earth), is the study of soils and soil formation. It is the branch of soil science that deals with soil genesis, morphology, classification and distribution. Soil science deals with soil as a natural resource on the surface of the earth including soil formation, classification and mapping; physical, chemical, biological, and fertility properties of soils per se; and these properties in relation to the use and management of soils. ...

Soil is not only a support for vegetation, but it is also the zone (the 'pedosphere') of numerous interactions between climate (water, air, temperature), soil life (micro-organisms, plants, animals) and its residues, the mineral material of the original and added rock, and its position in the landscape. During its formation and genesis, the soil profile slowly deepens and develops characteristic layers, called 'horizons', while a steady state balance is approached. SOiL is a five-piece nu metal band from Chicago, formed in 1997. ... Soil life is a collective term for all the organisms living within the soil. ... This article is about minerals in the geologic sense; for nutrient minerals see dietary mineral; for the band see Mineral (band). ... Sedimentary, volcanic, plutonic, metamorphic rock types of North America. ... A soil profile is a cross section through the soil which reveals its horizons (layers). ...

Soil users (such as agronomists) showed initially little concern in the dynamics of soil. They saw it as medium whose chemical, physical and biological properties were useful for the services of agronomic productivity. On the other hand, pedologists and geologists did not initially focus on the agronomic applications of the soil characteristics (edaphic properties) but upon its relation to the nature and history of landscapes. Today, there's an integration of the two disciplinary approaches as part of landscape and environmental sciences. Agricultural science (also called agronomy) is a broad multidisciplinary field that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic, and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture. ...

Pedologists are now also interested in the practical applications of a good understanding of pedogenesis processes (the evolution and functioning of soils), like interpreting its environmental history and predicting consequences of changes in land use, while agronomists understand that the cultivated soil is a complex medium, often resulting from several thousands of years of evolution. They understand that the current balance is fragile and that only a thorough knowledge of its history makes it possible to ensure its sustainable use. Pedogenesis or soil evolution (formation) is the process by which soil is created. ... Sustainable development is a process of developing (land, cities, business, communities, etc) that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs according to the Brundtland Report, a 1987 report from the United Nations. ...

Famous pedologists

Bernard Palissy. ... Vasily Vasilievich Dokuchaev (Василий Васильевич Докучаев) (1840 – 1903) was a Russian geographer who is credited with laying foundations of soil science. ... Hans Jenny (7 February 1899 – 9 January 1992) was an expert on pedology (study of soil resources) Hans Jenny was born in Basel, Switzerland. ...

See also

Agricultural sciences basic topics These should be the most basic topics in the field--topics about which wed like to have articles soon. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Soil - MSN Encarta (928 words)
The organic materials are composed of debris from plants and from the decomposition of the many tiny life forms that inhabit the soil.
Soil science plays a key role in agriculture, helping farmers to select and support the crops on their land and to maintain fertile, healthy ground for planting.
Soils comprise a mixture of inorganic and organic components: minerals, air, water, and plant and animal material.
SSM - Chapter One | NRCS Soils (5282 words)
Properties of soils no longer were based wholly on inferences from the nature of the rocks or from climate or other environmental factors, considered singly or collectively; rather, by going directly to the soil itself, the integrated expression of all these factors could be seen in the morphology of the soils.
During the 1930s, soil formation was explained in terms of loosely conceived processes, such as "podzolization," "laterization," and "calcification." These were presumed to be unique processes responsible for the observed common properties of the soils of a region (Jenny, 1946).
The basic objective of soil surveys is the same for all kinds of land, although the number of mapping units, their composition, and the detail of mapping vary with the complexity of the soil patterns and the specific needs of the users.
  More results at FactBites »



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