What does the future hold for soil science?

Francisco Díaz-Fierros Viqueira


In the last decade many authors have talked about a crisis in soil science, manifested by the disappearance of the term “soil” in many research organizations, cuts in funding and a loss of “visibility” of pedological studies. Nonetheless, the crisis is considered to have started in the 1980s, during the so-called “environmental wave” described by Bouma and Hartemink (2002). The causes of the crisis may include competition from other specialists for soil-related studies, superspecialization and a decline in field studies. Proposed solutions to the crisis include a return to the holistic study of soil systems, collaborative research with specialists from other fields and the consideration of studies within wider contexts such as those defined by the “critical zone” proposed by Lin (2005). Finally, the need for soil studies to appear in the media is emphasized, along with the possibility that in some countries soil research teams and structures may even disappear.  

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