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History of forest soils knowledge and research


Robert Harrison
Larry West
Daniel Markewitz
Daniel D. Richter
Mac A. Callaham Jr.



Publication type:

Book Chapter

Primary Station(s):

Southern Research Station


Global Change and Forest Soils


Human history is intricately linked to the soil. As human populations increased agricultural land use intensified. Wood availability was also important and resulted in the management of forested land for fuel, fiber and food. Soil mapping was an essential tool in planning future expansion of agriculture and resulted in an increased understanding in the factors that regulate soil formation. This understanding eventually lead to the formation of forest soil science as a separate area of research. Early forest soil research focused on silviculture, harvesting, soil chemistry and acid rain. As the science progressed areas of research broadened to include specialized forest harvest methods and eventually to ecosystem-related research designed to understand how soils function as an integral part of the forest.


Knoepp, Jennifer D.; Adams, Mary Beth; Harrison, Robert; West, Larry; Laseter, Stephanie H.; Markewitz, Daniel; Richter, Daniel D.; Callaham Jr., Mac A. 2019. In: Busse, Matt; Giardina, Christian P.; Morris, Dave M.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S., eds. Global Change and Forest Soils. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier: 43-55. Chapter 4.

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