Talk:Pedology (soil study)

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I understand that pedology means literally the same thing as soil science. I am also aware that several individual field soil scientists in the United States have preferred being introduced as pedologists to distinguish themselves from agronomists, geologists, geographers, sanitarians and engineers who opportunistically represent themselves as soil scientists, but who in fact have only minimal soil science training and experience. I am also aware that the term soil science doesn't translate as easily as the term pedology, and that some national soil science societies have chosen to call themselves pedological societies.

Despite the above I find very persuasive considerations in support of clarifying pedology as being one of several branches within the soil sciences. Most soil scientists known to me are not enthusiastic with the pedology term as a comprehensive term for soil science. Practice in the pure science aspects of soil chemistry, soil physics and soil minerology are particularly difficult to define as branches of pedology. Furthermore, the ascendancy of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) has made soil science the clearly preferable term.

I maintain my certification as a professional soil classifier, so I can certainly appreciate that soil science would not be what it is (a robust discipline independent of geology, agriculture or the biological sciences) if it wasn't for pedology. Pedology is the single most important and defining branch of soil science. I certainly can't fault anyone who defends promoting pedology as the preferred term. I just think that the world has moved on beyond the 1970's and 1980's, a time when pedology quite possibly could have supplanted soil science as the preferred term.

Paleorthid 19:31, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Two branches of Soil Science[edit]

Restored the following to the article: It is one of two main branches of soil science, the other being edaphology Source: Why Study Soils?: E6: Soil science includes two main divisions: edaphology and pedology.

It probably doesn't need to be directly referenced in pedology (soil study) because it is referenced in the edaphology article, the likely place a reader would look for further infomation.

Admittedly, it is common for both terms to be carelessly applied as functionally synonymous. I would reject this as common use. Common error is different from common use. The terms are not synonymous, the importance is critical to understanding soil science, and others have gone to efforts to preserve the distinction. An example:

  • The book "Physical Edaphology", by Taylor and Ashcroft, had nothing to do with classic pedology. It is a soil physics book that deals with soil moisture dynamics as it relates to plant health and crop production. It never addresses biorhexistasy, or any other similar soil moisture related theory that addresses soil formation.

Edaphic factors are separate from soil forming factors, and the distinction defines a longstanding division between the (complementary) geologic and agronomic/environmental perspectives that soil science extends from. – Paleorthid 05:38, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Pedology does include the same factors as edaphology - to border pedology at what you refer as "classic" would be wrong, since it would bind the science to it's old form. Interesting fact, is that "edaphology" is almost non-existent in non-english speaking countries: it is seen as a sub of pedology. Go ahead, and try to translate edaphology to another language - in Dutch, the outcome is "bodemkunde" which means: soil study. Hence the scientificly accept synonymity of the 2 words. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Famous pedologists[edit]

Famous pedologists includes Bernard Palissy in the list, but there's no mention of soil in that article. Why no mention of Charles Darwin, the fairly well known author of The formation of vegetable mould, through the action of worms, with observations on their habits. (1881)? .. dave souza, talk 12:19, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Edaphology is a Part of Pedology[edit]

I believe that edaphology can be placed under pedology and has been placed alongside due to a misconception of what pedology is.

First, Buol et al. (1997) states that "pedology is a collective term used to refer to the combination of the two phases [of soil science] - soil genesis and classification. It has also been used to refer to the combination of the the entire subfield of soil genesis and classification, morphology, survey and interpretations." This authority then lists the following subareas of pedology:

  * Soil Genesis
  * Soil Classification
  * Soil Morphology
  * Soil Survey
  * Soil Geomorphology
  * Soil Characterization and Analysis
  * Soil Interpretation

Wikipedia states that Edaphology "is concerned with the influence of soils on living things, particularly plants. The term is also applied to the study of how soil influences man's overall use of the land."

I contend that this Wikipedia statement is a misconception of what pedology encompasses. The soil forming factors climate, organisms, parent material, relief, and time include plant organisms (Jenny, 1994). Jenny (1994) states that plants have an intimate continuing interaction with the soil. Plants, as the most pronounced expression of organisms interaction with soils, should be viewed as a soil forming factor and a subset of pedology; Soil Genesis, Soil Characterization and Analysis, and Soil Interpretation. Plants alter the soil by removing inorganics, contributing to the dissolution of soil minerals by exuding protons and organic acids. Plants also exude other organic compounds to chelate inorganics either for uptake or to sequester them to avoid or mediate uptake. Soil influence on man's overall use is covered in Soil Interpretation, and the Soil Survey is a product that does just that.

Pedology is integrative of other soil science disciplines. A pedologist must be conversant with other sub-disciplines of Soil Science such as Soil Chemistry, Soil Physics, and Soil Biology (sometimes referred to as Soil Microbiology or Soil Ecology). The intensity of study within these sub-disciplines often precludes the time, resources, and understanding of other soil sub-disciplines that is necessary to link the findings of their investagations to the soilscape. However, these sub-disciplines are marked by being allied to one or more of the subareas of pedology, but, again, they often do not rely on the integration if the findings into an understanding of the soilscape for acceptance of the findings by the scientific community. Pedological results always link back to the soilscape. soilman 18:39, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

I have responded here – Paleorthid (talk) 18:43, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

From a new user[edit]

This page hasnt been edited in quite some while, but I have some interest in trying to help out here; I teach a course called pedology at a Land-Grant university in the US, and have been a professor in soil science for nearly 30 years. Let me give you my understanding, and that of most other soil scientists in the US (if that is of interest to those of you reading this): pedology is one of a number of sub-disciplines within soil science (see the Soil Science Society of America web page: ). It is the "field-based" part of soils in that it deals with describing soil morphology and mapping soils, as well as soil genesis and land use. It is NOT an overall term encompassing ALL of soil science, but is clearly a sub-discipline. Edaphology is an archaic term, I am afraid; while there are pedologists, there are no edaphologists (that I know). I would suggest the article headings and organization in Wikipedia should consider the SSSA disciplines cited above, which I think are in common useage among soil scientists and allow a reasonable coverage of the entire discipline.

I am still figuring out how to edit pages here, and have not messed with the article. I would like to get rid of this "edaphology" business, but I'll wait to see if anyone responds...--Soilguy71 (talk) 21:16, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

I would like to keep this "edaphology" business. I had a discussion about this with someone holding a similar view to yours back in 2007. I point to it so you'll better understand my connection with the subject --Paleorthid (talk) 21:30, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
It would be great if you could edit and improve this page. The mention edphology seems a minor part of that effort, but it is the part that ties most directly to my contributions to soil science content on Wikipedia. Edaphologist is one of the hats I wear, I prefer to use edaphology when it is the best term.
I dispute that edaphology is an archaic term. Edaphology is defined in the Encyclopedia of Soil Science, 2008, Ward Chesworth (see page 207) Yet you are more likely to encounter the terms edaphologist (UN-FAO published example) and edaphology (Edaphology Center, Colegio de Postgraduados, Montecillo, Mexico, for example) outside the USA. Consider H. T. J. van der Wetering, Utrecht-Netherlands, in his review of Hans Jenny, 1980, the Soil Resource, Origin and Behavior, Wetering mentions edaphology as follows: "The great merit of the book, however, is the way Jenny uses the two branches of soil science, the study of soil genesis (pedology) and the study of soil as a factor for plant growth (edaphology) to explain the contribution of the soil resource to the structure and functioning of the ecosystems." Journal of Plant Ecology DOI 10.1007/BF00047304 Volume 57, Numbers 2-3 / November, 1984 (page 102) Springer Netherlands. There are seven non-english Wikipedia articles on Edaphology (ca:Edafologia, eo:Edafologio, es:Edafología, fr:Édaphologie, gl:Edafoloxia, pl:Edafología, ro:Edafologie). These are indications the term remains in use within the world soil science community. Please be aware that en:Wikipedia is not a USA-centric work.
I do not subscribe to the notion that we should restructure the articles according to SSSA divisions, as if those divisions equate to branches of the science, and edaphology, not a SSSA division, can't qualify as a branch of soil science. I was of that persuasion when I started in to my editing on Wikipedia but once I came to appreciate the interelated category structure, and soil science relationship to other earth and environmental sciences, I realized how unworkable, and artificial, that would be. And how beneficial edphology as a subcatefgory of soil science, could be. SSSA is about organizing research, formal papers, and oral presentations. Simply because the term edaphology doesn't fit that SSSA divisional structure, doesn't mean that it should lose its status as one of two main branches of soil science.
--Paleorthid (talk) 23:55, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
OK. I am realizing that you feel that this is “your” site and have no intention of compromising. I’m not going to debate you, or contribute to something that contains such obvious fallacies. Good luck with your “Two Branches”. I’m out. --Soilguy71 (talk) 14:27, 24 May 2010 (UTC)