Update: 08.12.2017

Five tonnes of animal life can live in one hectare of soil.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

The three favourite soil science books of:

Paul Hallett (UK)

Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee

Two of my three favourite soil science books are well-thumbed textbooks found in my office (or usually sitting on the desks of colleagues). The other book is popular nonfiction that is not a soil science book per se but a very influential recent advocate of our discipline.

Mitchell, J.K., and K. Soga. 2005 Fundamentals of soil behavior 3rd ed John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken , NJ . ISBN 13: 978-0-471-46302-7

This is a gem of a textbook aimed at geotechnical engineers but arguably the most valuable reference available to anyone interested in the mechanical behaviour of soils. The first few chapters appreciate how the formation of soil underlies its complexity. Topics such as biological influence on soil behaviour, clay chemistry, organic matter and rheology are included. Soil mechanics theory is covered in depth, but unlike many other textbooks in this area, the concepts are accessible and easy to follow.

Marshall , T.J., Holmes, J.W. and Rose, C.W. 1996. Soil physics. (3rd Edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge . ISBN 0-52145-151-5

My second edition copy of this textbook is starting to fall apart after 18 years of constant use. It is concise, well written and a good reference for anyone with a basic knowledge of soil science that needs information on physical behaviour. Like all soil physics textbooks, soil-water relations are the central theme. However, topics such as soil structure, mechanical behaviour and physical conditions for plant growth are also included. Soil physics is a discipline blessed with many excellent textbooks, each with particular strengths. Marshall, Holmes and Rose is in my view the best all-rounder .

Wright, Ronald. 2004. A Short History of Progress. Anansi, Toronto . ISBN 0-88784-706-4.

Ronald Wright found a common theme to explain the downfall of past civilisations. From the fall of the first city, Uruk, to modern agriculture, he cites how the mismanagement of soil destroys resources, food and eventually life. Originally a Massey Lecture in Canada , this is an incredibly well researched and argued thesis. By advocating the importance of soil in the popular press, Wright has done a great favour for our discipline. This book was not intended to be a soil science book, but it helps overcome the old clich of soil being treated like dirt . Useful ammunition if you come across unenlightened individuals who find your profession bizarre, boring or unimportant.