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Soils are the porous skin of the Earth with variable and complex structures composed of solid, liquid and gaseous phases. Being in close contact with the atmosphere, biosphere hydrosphere, and lithosphere, soils fulfill numerous functions as a filter, buffer, habitat for organisms and resource for raw materials and food rendering them as the basis for life on our Planet. Soils are subject to continuous transformations and their dynamic nature is important for the interaction of biological, biogeochemical and physical processes. But at the same time they are vulnerable and affected by human activity and often subject to degradation.
Essential Soil Physics (based on the 4th, German language edition) introduces the reader gently but comprehensively to soil physical processes. The authors discuss both the origin and dynamics of soil physical properties and functions – volume-mass relations of the solid, water and gas phases, grain and pore size distributions, permeability and storage capacity for water, gases and heat – and finally soil deformation and strength in relation to mechanical and hydraulic stresses resulting in structural changes through compaction, kneading, slaking and soil crusting. Unlike other soil physics textbooks, soil mechanical properties are herein described in great detail, because otherwise it is impossible to understand and adequately quantify soil stability and the effects of soil deformation on soil physical functions.
Essential Soil Physics treats the physics of water, gas and heat movement in soils and interactions with the solid phase at various scales and other factors in detail – because these are considered the ultimate basis of any model of soil behavior.
Threats to soils worldwide ultimately endanger food security for a growing world population. Because of this, the effects of soil use and degradation on transport processes, soil stability and pore functions are discussed, and options for soil protection, conservation, and amelioration are addressed.
The authors close a gap between general soil science texts and very specialized treatments of foundation engineering by integrating the concepts of soil mechanics to achieve a comprehensive description of soil physical behavior. Traditional soil physics topics, such as soil – water – plant relations, soil hydrology and gas, heat and field water cycles are complemented by soil rheology, physicochemical and amelioration sciences. Well-known and recent advances in analytical approaches and methods are well explained to be of use to persons interested in improving plant growth and optimizing crop yield.
Essential Soil Physics is valuable for researchers, upper-level undergraduate students, and graduate students of agronomy, soil science, horticulture, geo-sciences, environmental science, landscape architects and everybody interested in understanding the intricate physical processes which control and modify soil functions. Problems are provided at the end of each chapter to enable readers to develop soil physics related problem solving skills.
Soils: integral part of our environment 10
Soil characteristics 11
1 Grain size distribution: texture 13
2 Soil structure and structural functions 33
3 Mechanical and hydraulic forces in soils 50
4 Interactions between water and soil 86
5 Distribution and hydrostatics of soil water 123
6 Movement of water within the soil 143
7 The gas-phase of soils 193
8 Thermal behaviour of soils 204
9 Combined water-, heat and gas budget of soils 221
10 Plant habitats and their physical modification 255
11 Soil erosion 280
12 Solute transport and filter processes in soils 293
13 Future Perspectives of Soil Physics 311
14 References 347
15 Commonly used units and conversion factors 373
"[...] Overall, the book definitely leaves the reader satisfied with the examined matter and makes a significant contribution to knowledge of the scientific community."
– Cezary Slawinski, International Agrophysics Vol. 31, Issue 1
"[...] For a working soil scientist I recommend this book as a reference to own. I will also recommend our university library acquire a copy. I think it a useful text for graduate students to use however I suspect that only the most motivated and mathematically literate of undergraduate students would cope with it – the book assumes a basic knowledge of soil science and mathematics. If there was an opportunity to run a focussed soil physics course this would certainly be a recommended, if not required, text. It is also a book I would recommend to civil engineering and geotechnical engineering students and practitioners."
– Dr Megan Balks, Soil News Issue # 2 – Vol # 65 – May 2017
"Overall, Essentials in Soil Physics adds to the already available book material in soil physics by providing information beyond classical textbooks and nicely showing the interaction between soil mechanics and classical soil physics (soil hydrology). All chapters provide useful information, although some chapters or subsections seem to be a little bit unbalanced between complexity and simplicity, which is unavoidable given the diversity of soil physics aspects presented. The editorial team has to be commended for putting such diverse material together in a comprehensive textbook. I would recommend this book to graduate and undergraduate students of soil physics, soil chemistry, and soil biology but also to professionals in these disciplines for lecture preparation."
– Vadose Zone Journal Vol. 16, Iss. 5, 2017
"[...] Compared with other familiar English-language soil physics text-books, this book provides expanded discussion of soil structure, and its importance is well integrated into treatment of most other topics. Particularly unique is that pore arrangement is discussed in contexts of both pedogenesis and shorter-term dynamic processes associated with water and gas redistribution. This emphasis offers readers insight on the complexity of processes occurring in field soils. Throughout the book, foreshadowing of concepts is also used in order to make [...]
Overall, this textbook provides a new presentation of soil physics concepts for the English-language audience, many conceptual figures and examples that can provide useful references for course content, and a compliment of both core and less-commonly treated soil physics subject matter."
– Soil Science: March 2017 – Volume 182 – Issue 3 – p 114