The three favourite soil science books of:

Christian Feler (France)

Which are your three favourite soil science books?

This is a very difficult question to answer for someone who simultaneously has a passion for both soil science and books. I therefore decided to formulate it a bit differently as: which soil science books have been important enough to still be considered as such nowadays and in the future ? Here is my choice.

  1. Müller P.E., 1889 (French edition). Recherches sur les formes naturelles de l’humus et leur influence sur la végétation et le sol.

Berger-Levrault et Cie, Paris-Nancy, 351 p.

Original Danish edition in two volumes:

* Müller, P.E., 1878. Studier over Skovjord, som Bidrag til Skovdyrkningens Theori. I. Om bøgemuld og Bøgemor på Sand og Ler. Tidsskrift for Skovbrug, 3: 1-124.

*Müller, P.E. 1884. Studier over Skovjord, som Bidrag til Skovdyrkningens Theori. II. Om Muld og Mor i Egeskove og paa Heder. Tidsskrift for Skovbrug, 7: 1-232.

German edition

Müller P.E., 1887. Studien über die natürlichen Humusformen und deren Einwirkung auf Vegetation und Boden. Berlin.

As a forerunner addressing for the first time the detailed analysis of the formation processes and properties of temperate soils, Müller’s Humus is probably the most important book in soil science. It includes a description of numerous profiles and an assessment of the role of vegetation, humus, and soil biota in field situations. Even today reading this book still remains pleasant and highly instructive so that one can’t avoid asking “How does it happen that Müller has not become as famous as Dokuchaev ?”, or “Why is not Müller considered as THE founder or at least the co-founder of pedology along with Dokuchaev ?” I personally consider his contribution to have as much basic scientific importance as Dokuchaev’s thesis on Chernozem.

  1. Jenny H., 1941. Factors of soil formation. A system of quantitative pedology.

McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York London, 281 p.

The importance of Jenny’s treatise does not need to be commented upon to any extent. Everyone knows that it has turned out to be absolutely revolutionary, especially through its systematic reference to mathematical modeling in the analysis of the processes involved in the dynamics of soils.

  1. Brady N.C., Weil R.R., 2008 (and previous editions since 1922). The nature and properties of soils.

Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA, 14th ed., 992 p.

The first edition with the same title was published in 1922 with T. Littleton Lyon and H.O. Buckman as authors. During subsequent decades, Buckman became the first author. Nyle C. Brady became co-author in 1952.  Nyle C. Brady was the sole author from 1974 to 1990. In 1996, Ray R Weil joined him as co-author. Since 2002, Ray Weil has made the revisions, but with both Weil and Brady listed as authors.

The T. Littleton Lyon and successors’ books represent a marvelous history since about one hundred years, fourteen editions of this textbook updated every 6 years or so were read by several thousand students and scientists all over the world.

Every new edition is modern giving the latest advances and addressing new concepts and approaches corresponding to current agricultural or environmental questions concerning soils. The 15th edition is expected to be published in 2014.


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Page created: 22.02.2015 | Page updated: 22.02.2015

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