Game Changer in Soil Science. The Anthropocene in soil science and pedology.
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© 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim The venerable science of pedology, initiated in the 19th century as the study of the natural factors of soil formation, is adapting to the demands of the Anthropocene, the geologic time during which planet Earth and its soils are transitioning from natural to human-natural systems. With vast areas of soils intensively managed, the future of pedology lies with a renewed science that can be called anthropedology that builds on the pedology of the past but proceeds from “human as outsider” to “human as insider.” In other words, the human in pedology must shift from being a soil-disturbing to soil-forming agent. Pedology is well prepared to respond to the challenges of the Anthropocene, given the decades of research on human-soil relations throughout human history and throughout the period of the Great Acceleration (Steffen et al., ). However, quantitative understanding of soil responses to the diversity of human forcings remains elementary and needs remedy.
SubjectScience & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1002/jpln.201900320
Publication InfoRichter, DD (2020). Game Changer in Soil Science. The Anthropocene in soil science and pedology. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 183(1). pp. 5-11. 10.1002/jpln.201900320. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21224.
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Daniel D. Richter
Professor in the Division of Earth and Climate Science
Richter’s research and teaching links soils with ecosystems and the wider environment, most recently Earth scientists’ Critical Zone. He focuses on how humanity is transforming Earth’s soils from natural to human-natural systems, specifically how land-uses alter soil processes and properties on time scales of decades, centuries, and millennia. Richter's book, Understanding Soil Change (Cambridge University Press), co-authored with his former PhD
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