In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

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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:

Tony Young (UK)

For clear, concise writing, without jargon, G. V. Jacks Soil (Nelson, Edinburgh, UK, 1954) comes first. Even the title could not be more concise! Then as a former soil surveyor, allow me to class as a book one of the classic maps and accompanying reports. Geoffrey Milne s A provisional soil map of East Africa (Amani Memoirs, Tanganyika, 1936) is a mind-blowing achievement from the days before air photography, a huge addition to soil science and geographical knowledge.

Harder to pick number three. Nye and Greenland , The soil under shifting cultivation (CAB, Harpenden, UK, 1960), still being cited as a basic source on organic matter? One of the first Soil map of Africa compiled by Julius d Hoore (CCTA, Lagos, 1964)? The clarity of Rudy Dudal s Dark clay soils of tropical and subtropical regions (FAO, Rome, 1965)? Peter Ahn s West African soils (Oxford UP, 1970), obviously written by someone with a close field knowledge of soils and their agricultural management? Or Philippe Duchaufour s Precis de p dologie (Masson, Paris, 1977), comprehensive but always clear?

No, let me settle for another classic of good writing, Robin Clarke s The study of the soil in the field (Clarendon, Oxford , UK ), first published in 1936 and so readable that it ran to five editions over a period of 35 years.