science is a relatively young science in which staggering developments
have occurred. It has borrowed tools and techniques from the fundamental
sciences (chemistry, physics, mathematics) and the applied sciences (e.g.
geostatistics, ecology) and these have been applied to agricultural and
environmental problems. Soil science has become a true science in its own
right, with its own set of tools and techniques. A main development has
been that many of the descriptive practices were replaced by systematic
observations coupled with inductive reasoning and deductive
experimentation. Most subdisciplines of soil science have matured, except
for the subdiscipline history of soil science, which has been a rather
first book solely dedicated to the history of soil science was authored by
I.A. Krupenikov and appeared in 1971. It was written in Russian but an
English translation (‘History of Soil Science – From its Inception to
the Present’) was made available in 1993. In 1989, Boulaine published a
book in French on the history of pedology and soil science and in 1997
‘History of Soil Science – International Perspectives’ appeared -
click for review here.
Historic developments of various fields of soil science have also been
reviewed in some journal articles and textbooks e.g. the first chapter in
‘Russell’s Soil Conditions and Plant Growth’. Overall, historical
information about developments in soil science is scattered and besides
being neglected, there is an imbalance in subject treatments.
is likely caused by the fact that soil scientists are not per se good
historians (and the other way round). We have written a few papers on
historical developments in soil science and they are listed below. There
is an active Commission of the IUSS that specifically deals with history
and philosophy of soil science and information can be found
here. No doubt
there is much work to be done given the rapid developments that have
occurred in soil science.
Bouma, J. & A.E. Hartemink 2002
Soil science and society in the Dutch
context. Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 50: 133-140.
A.E. 2002 Soil science in tropical and temperate regions – Some
differences and similarities. Advances in Agronomy 77: 269-292.
Publishing in soil science – Historical developments and
current trends. 196 pp. IUSS, Vienna. [with a Foreword by Prof.
W.H. Blum]. More info
A.E. 2001 Publishing science – Past, present and the future.
Guest editorial in: Outlook on Agriculture 30: 231-237. PDF
Hartemink, A.E., A.B.
McBratney & J.A. Cattle 2001
Developments and trends
in soil science: 100 volumes of Geoderma (1967-2001). Geoderma 100:
more info here
Baren, J.H.V., A.E. Hartemink
& P.B. Tinker 2000
75 years The International Society of Soil Science. Geoderma 96: