For vegetative life to develop with the right nutrients, the soil is studied in soil science. You’ll learn about the numerous types of soil that exist, how to assess fertility, the chemistry of soils, and which types of soil are best for cultivating different plant species.
Agricultural production, environmental quality evaluation, and product toxicity all heavily rely on the study of soil science. For studying how different types of soil react to fertilizers, tillage techniques, and crop rotation, soil science in agriculture offers excellent instruments. A farmer or other landowner who wants to make the best choices for their operations and the environment must have access to this information. Construction projects, drilling operations, and forestry businesses can all benefit from the expertise that soil scientists can offer.
Students studying soil science can become experts in a variety of fields, including waste management, agrometeorology, soil rehabilitation and preservation, water management, and much more. Field research and lab work are combined with an in-depth theoretical understanding of the processes and characteristics of the soil environment in academic programs.
History of Soil Science
According to its color, texture, and hydrology, soil was separated into three categories and nine classes in China’s book Yu Gong (5th century BCE), which contains the earliest known system of classifying soil.
Contemporaries Vasily Dokuchaev, a Russian, and Friedrich Albert Fallou, a German, are credited as being among the first to see soil as a resource whose distinctiveness and complexity merited to be conceptually isolated from geology and crop production and addressed as a whole. Fallou is the first time since he was the father of soil science. When Dokuchaev was born, Fallou was researching the origins of soil, but Dokuchaev’s work was more thorough and is seen as being more influential on contemporary soil theory.
Formerly, the soil was thought to as the result of chemical reactions between rocks, a lifeless substrate from which plants could extract nutrients. In actuality, bedrock and soil were compared. Dokuchaev views the soil as a natural body with a unique origin story and developmental trajectory, one that is home to intricate and multifaceted processes. The soil is thought to be distinct from bedrock. The latter changes into the soil as a result of several soil-formation factors (climate, vegetation, country, relief, and age). He argued that soil should be referred to as the “daily” or outside horizons of rocks, regardless of the kind, as they are continuously altered by water, air, and numerous living and extinct organisms.
A definition from a 1914 encyclopedia, “the varied kinds of earth on the surface of the rocks, generated by the breaking down or weathering of rocks,” provides an example of the historical perception of soil that survived from the 19th century. Dokuchaev’s notion of soil from the late 19th century evolved into one of soil as an earthy substance that has been modified by living processes in the 20th century. The consequent idea is that soil devoid of live organisms is only a component of the surface of the earth.
The idea of soil is being further developed in light of our growing understanding of how energy is transported and transformed within the soil. A portion of the scientific community accepts the term’s use when it refers to the material on the surface of the moon and Mars. Nikiforoff’s 1959 characterization of soil as the “excited skin of the subaerial part of the earth’s crust” is accurate to this contemporary view of soil.
Application Areas for Soil Science
- Soil management
- Soil survey
- Standard methods of analysis
- Climate change
- Ecosystem studies
- Pedotransfer function
- Watershed and wetland studies
- Soil fertility / Nutrient management
Please Note: Graduates in soil science may find employment as a horticulture consultant, farm manager, plant geneticist, or conservation planner. Professionals are employed in the food production industry, soil technical auditing, and landscaping.