Monday, May 9, 2011

Soil Science is also called pedology

In American soil science, pedology (pedo is Greek for ground or soil) has recently been made as a subdiscipline that deals with soil morphology, genesis and classification. In other parts of the world, however, particularly in non-English speaking countries in Europe, Asia and Africa soil science has remained synonymous to pedology (Bech, 2006). Historically, pedology was the original term for the scientific study of the soil introduced by Fallou and it was only in 1924 during the planning for the first international congress that the term soil science was introduced as a synonym. This was in fact reflected in the paper that Glinka presented during the congress (Glinka, 1927).

Until today many textbooks, scientific journals and academic departments dealing with soil science in non-English speaking countries bear the name pedology. In 2002, there was an internet debate among some members of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) about the term pedology. While many North Americans who joined the debate strongly argued for the use of pedology as a branch of soil science, most soil scientists from Europe (e.g. the world-reknown R. Dudal from Belgium) and other parts of the world maintained that pedology is synonymous to soil science and is not a subdiscipline. Because of the disagreement, pedology was not used as a subdiscipline in the IUSS,

The traditional branches of soil science include soil chemistry, soil biology and biochemistry, soil physics, soil mineralogy, soil genesis, survey and classification, soil conservation, and soil fertility. Many soil scientists at present are experts of new emerging fields of soil science like hydropedology (interaction between hydrosphere and pedosphere), landscape pedology (role of soil in landscape processes), ecopedology (role of soil in terrestrial ecosystems), soil biogeochemistry (how biological and geochemical processes in soils affect element cycle), pedometrics (use of mathematical and statistical tools to interpret and analyze soil data), soil geography (local, regional and global distribution of soils), soil protection, and soil science history.

Bech, J. 2006. Eupedology: a solution to a controversy. IUSS Bulletin 109: 27-30.
Glinka, K.D. 1927. Dokuchaiev’s ideas in the development of pedology and cognate sciences. Trans. First Intern Congr. Soil Sci., Wisconsin, vol. 1, pp: 116-135


Anonymous said...

May I know who is she? She looks cute. Is she studying soil science? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Classmate na nako sya sa BSA program. Major sya ug Soil Science. Taga bgy Utod sya.

Sid B said...

What does the a typical day in the life of a pedologist include? And what kind of an impact would such a person be able to make on the world?

Victor B. Asio said...

I thank Sid B for that very good but very difficult question. As in any other field of science, there are three kinds of pedologists: the first kind is the one who spends most of his time discovering the nature of soils as part of landscapes and ecosystems. This scientist investigates problems or phenomena that interest him/her without thinking of rewards for himself or benefit of his investigation for society. He wants to discover new things and contributes to the body of knowledge.He wants to produce new knowledge that can have tremendous importance later. He is the pure scientist. The second kind is the one who focuses his attention on trying to solve problems related to crop production, environmental pollution, or any other problems of society. He can also be hardworking and creative. The third kind is the one who considers his profession as a pedologist only as a source of living. He teaches or conducts research primarily as a source of income, or for recognition, or simply because it is his job. He does not care if his work or research contributes anything to the body of knowledge or to the solution of societal problems.This kind has no contribution to science or to society. He should not have been a pedologist in the first place.

Anonymous said...

From what I have observed, there are two kinds of scientists: 1. he who does science for the glory of science, and 2. he who does science for his own glory.

Anonymous said...

I am required to do a science fair @ school. Are you avalible for me to interview you via this blog in the next 20 mins?? If not have a great day!