Monday, May 11, 2009

The original Handbook of Soil Science by E. Blanck

One of the most influential books on soil science in the 20th century was the Handbuch der Bodenlehre (Handbook of Soil Science), a 10-volume book edited by Professor Edwin Blanck of the University of Göttingen, Germany, and published by Verlag von Julius Springer, Berlin, from 1928-32 (see photo). The book presented the state of the art in soil science until the late 1920s. According to the prominent soil scientist Professor Dan Yaalon of Hebrew University, modern soil research took off at an accelerated rate as a result of the publication of this monumental book by Blanck (Yaalon and Berkowicz, 1997). The contents of the different volumes are as follows: Volume 1- The Natural Science Principles of the Origin of Soils; Volume 2- The Climatic Principles of the Formation and Weathering of Soils; Volume 3- The Distribution of Soil types on the Earth’s Surface, Regional and Zonal Soil Science; Volume 4- Non-climatic Soil Formation, the Soil Forms in Germany and Fossils Weathering; Volume 5- The Soil as the Topmost Layer of the Earth’s Surface and its Geographic Importance; Volume 6- The Physical Properties of Soils; Volmue 7- The Chemical and Biological Properties of Soils; Volume 8 and 9- Applied or Special Soil Science (Soil Technology); Volume 10- The Methods of Cultivating Soils. Although Prof. Blanck was the main editor, he was assisted by a team of editors which was responsible for each volume. Each volume consisted of several chapters contributed by different authors. Prof. Hans Jenny who was still in Zurich at the time contributed a chapter on high mountain soils which appeared in Volume 3.

(A complete set of this handbook is found in the library of the Soil Science and Soil Protection Division, Institute of Agricultural & Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences III, University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)

Yaalon, D.H. and S. Berkowicz. 1997. History of Soil Science-international perspectives. Advances in Geoecology 29, Catena Verlag, 438pp.

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