Manual Elements of Soil Physics (Developments in Soil Science)

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The discussion of agricultural terracing brings the concerns of ancient indigenous peoples full circle to those of present-day agricultural producers: the aim then was, and is now, to conserve resources. It is up to soil scientists today to provide the research and quantitative information that will enable the conservation and optimal management of soil, an essential resource for providing food security for global populations. Although Footprints is an extremely useful textbook for upper-level undergraduates as well as professors, researchers, and scientists working in the relevant sciences, it could also serve as a valuable reference for others.

Any reader can appreciate the historical integration of biology, physics, chemistry, philosophy, and ethics that led to our reliance on soil and our understanding of its complexity. Notable scientists have contributed excellent overviews on aspects of soil science that cover the discipline from the beginnings of soil concepts to the current state of knowledge. As a result, the book includes a comprehensive collection of references ranging from ancient documents many of them difficult to find to papers published in the 21st century.

The bibliographic information is extensive and detailed. Moreover, the sidebars that expand on the biographies and major findings of early soil researchers add a pleasing, personal touch.

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I do have a couple of quibbles. With regard to production, the publisher chose a paper that is too thin, and there are a few editorial oversights in some chapters information missing from a figure, e. I wish there had been more chapters in which authors pointed out knowledge gaps in soil-science research and challenged and encouraged future scientists to fill them.

Nonetheless, I found the book excellent overall. By presenting the evolution of soil science in a way that relates key concepts to specific individuals, Footprints leaves readers more inclined to appreciate the wide range of disciplines integrated into the field and perhaps more capable of understanding its present-day challenges.

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The book also reminds soil scientists that the history of their discipline is still being formed, and their legacy is still evolving. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account.


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