in memoriam - Fiorenzo Mancini (1922 - 2015)

Fiorenzo Mancini, emeritus professor at the University of Florence (Italy), died April 18, 2015.

He was born in Florence. Graduated (1946) summa cum laude in Agricultural Science, he performed all his academic career (which began in 1948 as an assistant to Prof. Paolo Principi), at the University of Florence. During his long career, Prof. Mancini published over one hundred scientific papers. His major contributions, which have considered the several fields of natural, geological, agricultural and environmental sciences, testify for his multipurpose scientific personality.

The most important areas of investigations in which he has been involved were:
Pedology, with particular regard to the genesis and evolution of soil from different substrates, and geography of soils in many Italian areas;
Soil survey and mapping, in particular the publication of the 1st edition of the Soil Map of Italy (1966) at a scale of 1: 1,000,000; but also, of several Italian areas showing very interesting landscape features;
Geology and geomorphology, with particular reference to the Quaternary. In this context, he never neglected the studies on soil degradation, soil erosion and sediment transport, following his activity as visiting professor to the Soil Conservation Service of the US and in Germany.

Other research areas of his interest concerned geology, paleo-climatology and paleo-ethnology, botany and forestry.

However, soil surveys captured his interest most and he devoted a lot of time to this activity, leading him first to the creation of a National Centre for the Study of Soil Genesis, Classification and Mapping at the Italian National Research Council; then to the organization of the Soil Conservation Special Project, which he led in the years 1978-1982 and, finally to the establishment of the National Pedological Observatory, a special body of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture (1992).

We wish to cite also his many scientific contributions in several international conferences, particularly in the context of the International Society of Soil Science, of which, as the only Italian, he had been appointed Honorary Member at the IUSS Congress in Bangkok (2002).

During his long teaching career at the University of Florence he followed many students in various parts of the Italian territory, meeting and encouraging many young people interested in the study of the soils.

He was the leader of the Committee for the Soil Map of Italy, published in 1966, with the involvement of many Italian scholars.
In this context, he organized several field trips to different parts of the Italian soilscape with groups of FAO soil scientists and in collaboration with many colleagues from different European countries, in particular from the Mediterranean Countries.

In his long career, Fiorenzo Mancini has held several important positions in national and international scientific institutions (SISS, IUSS, FAO, AIQUA, Soc. Studi Geografici, SGI, Accademia dei Georgofili, Accademia di Scienze Forestali, Accademia Italiana di Agricoltura, ISSDS).

He was President (1973-76) of the Italian Society of Soil Science; Director and President (1968-70) of the Italian Geological Society; Consultant of the National Commission of Major Catastrophes (1990-92). He was also Vice President of the Academy of Georgofili, President of the Italian Academy of Forestry Sciences, Academician Professor and Director of the Italian Academy of Agriculture, President of the Experimental Institute for the Soil Survey and Conservation.

The Italian scientific community of soil science has recognized his great figure of scientist and naturalist, and his scientific, technical and human merits, for his work during several decades in Italy.
He was a Master of culture and life for all Italian soil scientists.

Angelo Aru & Claudio Bini
Italian Society of Soil Science


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Page created: 15.10.2016 | Page updated: 15.10.2016

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