Update: 24.09.2017

There are over 100,000 different types of soil in the world.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

The three favourite soil science books of:

Phan Thi Cong (Vietnam)

Books are at great value to us because in my country, accessing scientific books is limited. I found all books have their own value and they open a new path in soil science for me anytime I read them. Therefore it is difficult for me to answer which are my three favourite books.

The book on Management properties of Ferralsols by A. Van Wambeke and published in 1974, amazed me when I started my work on this soil group. In Vietnam, this soil group has been considered as very fertile due to their well-drained characteristics and high organic matter content. However, this is not always true as these soils are fragile, and a lack of knowledge on the physical and chemical characteristics of these soils could lead to bad management. The book has compiled all the information available on Ferralsols: their properties, the experience accumulated on their management, and their production potential for intensive agriculture.

I found that the Soil Fertility Kit: A toolkit for acid, upland soil fertility management in Southeast Asia by Thomas Dierolf, Thomas Fairhurst and Ernst Mutert, and published in 2001, is a very useful handbook that enables researchers, extensionists, farmers , policy and decision-makers to understand their soils and to take quick action on the management practices needed for sustainable production. Besides explaining the principles of soil fertility management, the book also provides critical leaf nutrient concentrations for N, P, K, Ca , Mg and S in 45 crops. Balanced-fertilisation rates of N, P, K, Mg, S and organic matter are also recommended for these 45 crops. Colour plates for diagnosing nutrient deficiency in a few key crops are also included.

Soil degradation is occurring day by day in the tropics. Organic matter amendment has been suggested as one of the best options to ameliorate soil fertility decline and to improve soil structure. Defining the constraints of soil fertility to crop production and recommending best management practices needs an insight into the interaction between soil minerals and organic matter and the activities of soil micro-organisms. I could find many answers to my questions in the book on Interactions of Soil Minerals with Natural Organics and Microbes . This book is the Proceedings of a Symposium sponsored by Divisions S-9, S-2, and S-3 of the Soil Science Society of America in Washington, DC, 15-16 August, 1983, and was published as the SSSA Special Publication Number 17 in 1986. All authors linked the chemistry of mineral constituents to the transformation of organic substances under the activities of microbes and their interactions. Although I am not familiar with all the methodologies described in the books, the mechanisms and processes occurring in the soil body, and invisible to the naked eye, are a constant source of amazement to me.