The written history of humanity over the last 10,000 years is little more than a footnote to the Neolithic Revolution which brought about the exploitation of soil for food. In our quest for a sustainable civilization we have taken over about a third of the Earth's soils for agriculture, and our crop and rangeland now covers virtually all of the best soils for that purpose. As a consequence, the human footprint has expanded into ever more vulnerable soils and the growth of human society has become an increasing threat to the well-being of the biosphere.
In manipulating soil we intervene in the biosphere at a critical point of constriction. Conceptually, soil sits in the neck of an hourglass, through which energy and materials flow in passing from one compartment of the terrestrial ecosystem to another. As our population grows to a projected 9 or 10 billion by 2050 we shall need all the best knowledge of soils we can muster if the sustainability of human society is to be more than a short-term phenomenon. The Encyclopedia of Soil Science is a vital resource in this regard.
From the reviews: "The encyclopedia contains about 190 academic articles ! . All items are illustrated with many tables, graphs, figures and colour photographs. ! a summary of the present knowledge in the field of soil science, authored by internationally well known scientists. It is a remarkable tool, not only for soil scientists, but also for agronomists, geologists and even archeologists dealing with soils. Especially for the already somewhat older soil scientists it is an excellent way for updating in an easy way their knowledge and references." (G. Stoops, PEDON Newsletter, Issue 19, February, 2008) "A nice addition to the numerous encyclopedias that have come recently. ! The topics overlap several other encyclopedias as well. There are many tables and figures, including a few color figures. The authors of the entries are international in scope, and well-respected soil scientists. ! the audience to include scientists, engineers, technology experts, as well as environmental and land use planners. Most full entries are geared toward college or higher level, including students and scientists who are not soil scientists ! ." (Sally Logsdon, Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 72 (3), 2008) "Encyclopedia of Soil Science is an updated version of R. W. Fairbridge and C. W. Finkl Jr.'s edited encyclopedia ! . It contains both lengthy research articles and shorter glossary definitions ! . This useful combination of research articles and definitions makes this title invaluable for users ! . Libraries ! will be interested in this volume edited by Chesworth. ! highly useful resource for both students and researchers in major programs in agriculture, geology, and environmental science. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above." (J. K. Oleen, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (11), 2008) "This book is well worth reading because it puts the content in wider context. ! The book is well produced. Even with 900 pages it can be held in one hand, and can be used as a stand up reference book. The illustrations are excellent, and nearly all in colour. The diagrams, maps and statistical presentations are clear. ! The market for this book will be for higher education and research, and for science based companies involved in agriculture."(John Goodier, Reference Reviews, Vol. 22 (6), 2008)
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