Branches of Soil Science?
Submitted by dig on Wed, 2007-07-11 20:22.
First, Buol et al. (1997) states that "pedology is a collective term used to refer to the combination of the two phases [of soil science] - soil genesis and classification. It has also been used to refer to the combination of the the entire subfield of soil genesis and classification, morphology, survey and interpretations." This authority then lists the following subareas of pedology:
Wikipedia states that Edaphology "is concerned with the influence of soils on living things, particularly plants. The term is also applied to the study of how soil influences man's overall use of the land." I contend that this Wikipedia statement is a misconception of what pedology encompasses. I state this because organisms have an intimate continuing interaction with the soil (Jenny, 1994). Plants, as the most pronounced expression of organisms interaction with soils, should be viewed as a soil forming factor and a subset of pedology; Soil Genesis, Soil Characterization and Analysis, and Soil Interpretation. Plants alter the soil by removing inorganics, contributing to the dissolution of soil minerals by exuding protons and organic acids. Plants also exude other organic compounds to chelate inorganics either for uptake or to sequester them to avoid or mediate uptake. Soil influence on man's overall use is covered in Soil Interpretation, and the Soil Survey is a product that does just that.
Pedology is integrative of other soil science disciplines. A pedologist must be conversant with other sub-disciplines of Soil Science such as Soil Chemistry, Soil Physics, and Soil Biology (sometimes referred to as Soil Microbiology or Soil Ecology). The intensity of study within these sub-disciplines often precludes the time, resources, and understanding of other soil sub-disciplines that is necessary to link the findings of their investagations to the soilscape. However, these sub-disciplines are marked by being allied to one or more of the subareas of pedology, but, again, they often do not rely on the integration if the findings into an understanding of the soilscape for acceptance of the findings by the scientific community. Pedological results always link back to the soilscape.
Buol, Stanley W., F,D. Hole and R.W. McCracken. 1997. Soil Genesis and Classification, 4th ed. Iowa State Univ. Press, Ames ISBN 0-8138-2873-2
Jenny, Hans. 1994. Factors of Soil Formation - A System of Quantitive Pedology, Dover Pub. Mineola, N.Y. ISBN 0-486-68128-9