Soils: Basic Concepts and Future
Edited by Giacomo Certini and Riccardo Scalenghe
University Press, 310 pp., ISNB-13 978-0-521-85173-2
As might be expected from such a modern publication,
this book covers a wide range of topics, contains
useful and contemporary information for students
and educators as well as for soil scientists.
The book is divided into 18 chapters from 23 international
As the title promises, the book starts with a
traditional basic foundation. The first two chapters
lead gently into issues concerning the development
of soil science from the uppermost tilled layer
to complex three-dimensional approaches. Traditionally,
soils are considered to encompass mineral, organic,
liquid, gaseous and living phase: each of these
phases is examined in a separate chapter and are
written in a refreshing style, supported by up
to date research, which I found enlightening.
Chapters 8-13, which deal with the soil formation,
are combinations of traditional approaches augmented
by concrete conditions, such as granitic, basaltic
or volcanic ash soils.
At first sight, the title for a three hundred
page book could be considered overly ambitious,
but my impression changed once I had read the
final four chapters dealing with soil as limited
natural resources, the importance of which are
still widely underestimated by society. The attitude
of decision makers to the environment is marked
by careless confidence and hopefully students
who peruse this book will be more thoughtful owners
in the near future.
The Appendix is helpful to establish diagnostic
horizons or soil names in WRB and Soil Taxonomy
and to make an approximate conversion between
them. Having the numerous references and proper
indexes at hand is a benefit for all readers.
Although this book might not serve as a suitable
textbook for undergraduate students, readers with
a wide variety of interest in soil will certainly
find their favourite chapters in this book.
Institute of Geography
University of Tartu
Vanemuise 46 51014
Contents of the book:
- Concepts of soils. Richard W. Arnold;
- Pedogenic processes and pathways of horizon
differentiation. Stanley W. Buol;
- Soil phases: the inorganic solid phase. G.
- Soil phases: the organic solid phase. Claire
- Soil phases: the liquid phase. Randy A. Dahlgren;
- Soil phases: the gaseous phase. Andrey V.
- Soil phases: the living phase. Oliver Dilly,
Eva-Maria Pfeiffer and Ulrich Irmler;
- The State Factor theory of soil formation.
- Factors of soil formation: parent material.
M. Jeff Wilson;
- Factors of soil formation: climate. Sadao
Shoji, Masami Nanzyo and Tadashi Takahashi;
- Factors of soil formation: topography. Robert
- Factors of soil formation: biota. Françoise
- Factors of soil formation: time. Ewart A.
- Soil formation on Earth and beyond: the role
of additional soil forming factors. Giacomo
Certini and Riccardo Scalenghe;
- Soil functions and land use. Johan Bouma;
- Physical degradation of soils. Michael J.
- Chemical degradation of soils. Peter Blaser;
- The future of soil research. Anthony C. Edwards.