Submitted to: Geotimes
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Soil science is a multi-dimensional science that embodies many different disciplines and time and space scales. Modern soil science is based on the interactions of biological, chemical, and physical processes that occur within the mantle of the earth's surface. It is critical to understand these interactions because it is this thin layer of the earth's surface that sustains the world's food supply. However, soil science is not only concerned with agricultural production but also with environmental issues associated with sustaining ground and surface water quality and air quality. Future research efforts will have to blend soil science with many disciplines to be able to offer solutions to complex problems. Agriculture has been acknowledged as a contributor to nonpoint source pollution; however, there is a delicate balance between soil management practices and environmental quality. Environmental quality concerns that arise from soil management will be improved because of an increased understanding of the processes that occur within the soil volume. The linkage between the soil layer and the underlying geological units provides a clear picture of the importance of understanding the biological, chemical, and physical processes in the soil. Integration of these processes will require fundamental understanding of the dynamics in concert with the pedology of the soil. Our ability to improve the environment and sustain food production depends on our understanding of the complexities of the soil and requires that we have these fundamental pieces of knowledge available for use.