There is no time since the dawn of agriculture nearly 10,000 years ago that soil and its management is more important to human survival.
It is also an exciting time to study soil. Advances in chemistry, remote sensing, physics, and other fields are being applied creatively to identify the role of soil in societally relevant issues. There are deep and challenging questions about the feedbacks between biota and soils, soils and biology at the limits of life on Earth, and the soils of Mars and what they tell us about the climate history of our near neighbor.
While exploration of the solar system will not impact our short term survival on Earth, it will contribute to a continuing lesson we must constantly reinforce: we need to live within the limits of our small fragile dot in space.
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Coming in 2021: An Introduction to the Biogeochemistry of Soils
After years in preparation, Cambridge University Press will be publishing my book "An Introduction to the Biogeochemistry of Soils" in mid 2021.
The goal of this book is to take a 21st Century view of the field of soil biogeochemistry. The purpose is to introduce students and professionals from other fields to the data that is now available in enormous and continually growing quantities, and to new methods and models of examining soils that remain only, for the most part, in the peer-reviewed literature. Additionally, the focus is entirely on processes that occur in situ on the landscape. Thus, the book springs from the field of pedology, but embraces diverse fields in order to provide a sense of the exciting exciting opportunities in, and evolution of, soil research.