The three favourite soil science books of:
Achim Dobermann (USA)
One of my favorite soil science books is Statistical methods in soil and land resource survey by Richard Webster and Margaret Oliver, published in 1990. I got my hands on it shortly after completing my PhD thesis. I read through it within a few days and it almost made me wish to start all over with my thesis research. Having depleted all financial resources that was not a viable option, but Webster s and Oliver s book has accompanied my work and that of my students since then. As a graduate student I became fascinated with soil spatial variability and the statistical methods emerging in the 1980s provided many new and exciting opportunities for doing such work. What was desperately missing was a good textbook explaining all this to the soil science community. Webster and Oliver guide the reader logically and with surprising ease through an array of statistical concepts and methods that are now known as pedometrics and have evolved into an entire sub-discipline of soil science. This book has set the standard for all others that have followed in recent years.
A second book I have always enjoyed much is the Booker Tropical Soil Manual, edited by J.R. Landon and published by Longman Scientific & Technical in 1984 and 1991. This book is an amazing collection of knowledge needed for many soil related studies, with a strong emphasis on professionals engaged in soil survey and land evaluation. What is often scattered throughout the literature is here brought together in a handy collection of facts. There is nothing fancy about this book: just plain text, numerous tables, simple black and white graphs, and more than 200 pages of useful annexes. Those who want to get involved in a soil survey will certainly enjoy reading the annex on planning and logistics. You will find information for just about any question you may face in the field and at 474 pages this is still a book one can take along on a field trip. It s getting a bit outdated, so hopefully someone can take on the task and produce a new edition soon.
Finally, my newest favorite is Australian soils and landscapes by Neil McKenzie, David Jacquier, Ray Isbell and Katharine Brown (CSIRO Publishing, 2005). This is a beautifully illustrated compendium for the broader audience, nicely illustrating how soils evolve within the context of landscape development and how they contribute to ecosystem functioning. The professional soil scientist will not find much new information in this book in terms of general principles and processes of pedogenesis, but what makes this book stand out is the simplicity of language used and the quality of the numerous photographs and illustrations. Simply well done and this is the kind of books that will greatly help expanding the public s interest in soils. I d like to have a book like this for every country in this world.