This edition updates a narrative that has been at the forefront of soil science for more than a century. The first edition, published in 1909, was largely a guide to good soil management for farmers in the glaciated regions of New York State in the northeastern U.S. Since then, it has evolved to provide a globally relevant framework for an integrated understanding of the diversity of soils, the soil system and its role in the ecology of planet Earth.
The 15th edition is the first to feature full-color illustrations and photographs throughout. These new and refined full color figures and illustrations help make the study of soils more efficient, engaging, and intellectually satisfying. Every chapter has been thoroughly updated with the latest advances, concepts, and applications. Hundreds of new key references have been added. The 15th edition, like preceding editions, has greatly benefited from innumerable suggestions, ideas, and corrections contributed by soil scientists, instructors, and students from around the world. Dr. Nyle Brady, although long in retirement and recently deceased, remains as co-author in recognition of the fact that his vision, wisdom and inspiration continue to permeate the entire book.
This edition,1082 pages in length, includes in-depth discussions on such topics of cutting edge soil science as the pedosphere concept, new insights into humus and soil carbon accumulation, subaqueous soils, soil effects on human health, principles and practice of organic farming, urban and human engineered soils, cycling and plant use of silicon, inner- and outer-sphere complexes, radioactive soil contamination, new understandings of the nitrogen cycle, cation saturation and ratios, acid sulfate soils, water-saving irrigation techniques, hydraulic redistribution, cover crop effects on soil health, soil food-web ecology, disease suppressive soils, soil microbial genomics, indicators of soil quality, soil ecosystem services, biochar, soil interactions with global climate change, digital soil maps, and many others. In response to their popularity in recent editions, I have also added many new boxes that present either fascinating examples and applications or technical details and calculations. These boxes both highlight material of special interest and allow the logical thread of the regular text to flow smoothly without digression or interruption.
For students: This book provides both an exciting, accessible introduction to the world of soils as well as a reliable, comprehensive reference that you will want to keep for your professional bookshelf. What you learn from its pages will be of enormous practical value in equipping you to meet the many natural-resource challenges of the 21st century. The book demonstrates how the soil system provides many opportunities to see practical applications for principles from such sciences as biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. Throughout, the text highlights the countless interactions between soils and other components of forest, range, agricultural, wetland, and constructed ecosystems.
As the global economy expands exponentially societies face new challenges with managing their natural resources. Soil as a fundamental natural resource is critical to sustained economic growth and the prosperity of people in all parts of the world. To achieve balanced growth with a sustainable economy while improving environmental quality, it will be necessary to have a deep understanding of soils, including their properties, functions, ecological roles and management. I have tried to write this textbook in a way designed to engage inquisitive minds and challenge them to understand soils and actively do their part as environmental and agricultural scientists, in the interest of ensuring a prosperous and healthy future for humanity on planet Earth. It is my sincere hope that this book, previous editions of which have served so many generations of soil students and scientists, will continue to help future generations of soil scientists to benefit from a global ecological view of soils.