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Nature and Properties of Soils


Nature and Properties of Soils Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Featuring new photographs, diagrams, and special “boxes” , The Nature and Property of Soils is an engaging book for readers. It has an ecological approach that explains the fundamentals of soil science effectively. Chapter topics include Soil Erosion and Its Control, Soil Acidity, Soils and Chemical Pollution, and Organisms and the Ecology of the Soil. For individuals interested in soil and the environment.

About the Author

Dr. Raymond Weil, Professor, University of Maryland College Park


B.S. in Crop Science from Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 1970.

M.S. in Soil Science from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 1973.

Ph.D. in Soil Ecology from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 1977.


Elected Fellow in 2003 of both the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.


Weil has been active in soil science research since 1972 and has made many contributions in the areas of nutrient cycling and management, environmental impact of soil management, and assessment of soil quality. His current research is focused on the assessment and improvement of soil quality and organic matter.  He has conducted research in several countries outside the United States, including Ethiopia, Chad, Brazil, Honduras, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania.  In addition to his teaching at the University of Maryland, he has conducted many training workshops for such agencies as the USDA, The World Bank, The Rodale Research Institute, and the International Food Policy Center.


Dr. Weil has authored or coauthored more than 100 scientific publications in soil science and related areas.


Dr. Nyle Brady


Dr. Brady has, since 1947, worked in education, research and research administration, focusing on both international and U.S. issues. He is past president of the SSSA and served six years as Editor-in-Chief of the SSSA Proceedings and is Emeritus Professor at Cornell University. He has served in leadership positions with Cornell University, the International Rice Research Institute, USAID, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. He is recognized around the world as author and co-author of eleven editions of the world's most widely used soil science textbook, The Nature and Properties of Soils.

Table of Contents

1 The Soils Around Us   

1.1         Functions of Soils in Our Ecosystem                                                           

1.2         Medium for Plant Growth                                                                           

1.3         Regulator of Water Supplies                                                                       

1.4         Recycler of Raw Materials

1.5         Habitat for Soil Organisms                                                                         

1.6         Engineering Medium                                                                                  

1.7         Pedosphere as Environmental Interface                                                      

1.8         Soil as a Natural Body                                                                               

1.9         The Soil Profile and Its Layers (Horizons)                                                   

1.10       Topsoil and Subsoil                                                                                    

1.11       Soil: The Interface of Air, Minerals, Water, and Life                                    

1.12       Mineral (Inorganic) Constituents of Soils                                                     

1.13       Soil Organic Matter                                                                                   

1.14       Soil Water: A Dynamic Solution                                                                  

1.15       Soil Air: A Changing Mixture of Gases                                                        

1.16       Interaction of Four Components to Supply Plant Nutrients                            

1.17       Nutrient Uptake by Plant Roots                                                                  

1.18       Soil Quality, Degradation, and Resilience                                                     

1.19       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



2 Formation of Soils from Parent Materials   

2.1         Weathering of Rocks and Minerals                                                             

2.2         Factors Influencing Soil Formation                                                              

2.3         Parent Materials                                                                                        

2.4         Climate                                                                                                     

2.5         Biota: Living Organisms                                                                             

2.6         Topography                                                                                               

2.7         Time                                                                                                         

2.8         Four Basic Processes of Soil Formation

2.9         The Soil Profile                                                                                          

2.1o       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



3 Soil Classification   

3.1         Concept of Individual Soils                                                                         

3.2         Comprehensive Classification System: Soil Taxonomy                                 

3.3         Categories and Nomenclature of Soil Taxonomy                                         

3.4         Soil Orders                                                                                                

3.5         Entisols (Recent: Little If Any Profile Development)                                    

3.6         Inceptisols (Few Diagnostic Features: Inception of B Horizon)                     

3.7         Andisols (Volcanic Ash Soils)                                                                     

3.8         Gelisols (Permafrost and Frost Churning)                                                    

3.9         Histisols (Organic Soils without Permafrost)                                                

3.10       Aridisols (Dry Soils)                                                                                   

3.11       Vertisols (Dark, Swelling and Cracking Clays)                                             

3.12       Mollisols (Dark, Soft Soils of Grasslands)                                                    

3.13       Alfisols (Argillic or Natric Horizon, Medium to High Bases)                         

3.14       Ultisols (Argillic Horizon, Low Bases)                                                         

3.15       Spodosols (Acid, Sandy, Forest Soils, Low Bases)

3.16       Oxisols (Oxic Horizon, Highly Weathered)                                                  

3.17       Lower-Level Categories in Soil Taxonomy                                                 

3.18       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



4 Soil Architecture and Physical Properties   

4.1         Soil Color                                                                                                  

4.2         Soil Texture (Size Distribution of Soil Particles)                                           

4.3         Soil Textural Classes                                                                                  

4.4         Structure of Mineral Soils                                                                           

4.5         Formation and Stabilization of Soil Aggregates

4.6         Tillage and Structural Management of Soils

4.7         Soil Density                                                                                               

4.8         Pore Space of Mineral Soils

4.9         Soil Properties Relevant to Engineering Uses                                               

4.10       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



5 Soil Water: Characteristics and Behavior   

5.1         Structure and Related Properties of Water                                                  

5.2         Capillary Fundamentals and Soil Water                                                       

5.3         Soil Water Energy Concepts                                                                       

5.4         Soil Water Content and Soil Water Potential                                                

5.5         The Flow of Liquid Water in Soil                                                                

5.6         Infiltration and Percolation                                                                          

5.7         Water Vapor Movement in Soils                                                                 

5.8         Qualitative Description of Soil Wetness                                                       

5.9         Factors Affecting Amount of Plant-Available Soil Water                              

5.10       Mechanisms by Which Plants Are Supplied with Water                               

5.11       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



6 Soil and the Hydrologic Cycle   

6.1         The Global Hydrologic Cycle                                                                      

6.2         Fate of Precipitation and Irrigation Water                                                    

6.3         The Soil—Plant—Atmosphere Continuum                                                      

6.4         Control of Evapotranspiration (ET)                                                             

6.5         Liquid Losses of Water from the Soil                                                          

6.6         Percolation and Groundwaters                                                                    

6.7         Enhancing Soil Drainage                                                                            

6.8         Septic Tank Drain Fields                                                                            

6.9         Irrigation Principles and Practices                                                               

6.10       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



7 Soil Aeration and Temperature  

7.1         Soil Aeration–The Process                                                                       

7.2         Means of Characterizing Soil Aeration                                                        

7.3         Oxidation-Reduction (Redox) Potential                                                        

7.4         Factors Affecting Soil Aeration and Eh                                                       

7.5         Ecological Effects of Soil Aeration                                                              

7.6         Aeration in Relation to Soil and Plant Management                                      

7.7         Wetlands and Their Poorly Aerated Soils                                                    

7.8         Processes Affected by Soil Temperature                                                    

7.9         Absorption and Loss of Solar Energy                                                          

7.10       Thermal Properties of Soils                                                                        

7.11       Soil Temperature Control                                                                           

7.12       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



8 Soil Colloids: Seat of Soil Chemical and Physical Activity   

8.1         General Properties and Types of Soil Colloids                                              

8.2         Fundamentals of Layer Silicate Clay Structure                                             

8.3         Mineralogical Organization of Silicate Clays                                                

8.4         Structural Characteristics of Nonsilicate Colloids                                         

8.5         Genesis and Geographic Distribution of Soil Colloids                                    

8.6         Sources of Charges on Soil Colloids                                                            

8.7         Adsorption of Cations and Anions                                                               

8.8         Cation Exchange Reactions                                                                        

8.9         Cation Exchange Capacity                                                                         

8.10       Exchangeable Cations in Field Soil                                                              

8.11       Anion Exchange                                                                                        

8.12       Sorption of Pesticides and Groundwater Contamination                                

8.13       Binding of Biomolecules to Clay and Humus                                                

8.14       Physical Implications of Swelling-Type Clays                                              

8.15       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



9 Soil Acidity   

9.1         The Process of Soil Acidification                                                                

9.2         Role of Aluminum in Soil Acidity                                                                

9.3         Pools of Soil Acidity                                                                                   

9.4         Buffering of pH in Soils                                                                              

9.5         Determination of Soil pH                                                                            

9.6         Human-Influenced Soil Acidification                                                           

9.7         Biological Effects of Soil pH                                                                       

9.8         Raising Soil pH by Liming                                                                          

9.9         Alternative Ways to Ameliorate the Ill Effects of Soil Acidity                       

9.10       Lowering Soil pH                                                                                       

9.12       Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



10 Soils of Dry Regions: Alkalinity, Salinity, and Sodicity   

10.1       Characteristics and Problems of Alkaline Soils                                             

10.2       Causes of Alkalinity: High Soil pH                                                              

10.3       Development of Salt-Affected Soils                                                            

10.4       Measuring Salinity and Sodicity                                                                   

10.5       Classes of Salt-Affected Soils                                                                    

10.6       Physical Degradation of Soils by Sodic Chemical Conditionss

10.7       Growth of Plants on Salt-Affected Soils                                                      

10.8       Water-Quality Considerations for Irrigation                                                 

10.9       Reclamation of Saline Soils                                                                         

10.10     Reclamation of Saline-Sodic and Sodic Soils                                                

10.12     Management of Reclaimed Soils                                                                 

10.11     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



11 Organisms and Ecology of the Soil   

11.1       The Diversity of Organisms in the Soil                                                        

11.2       Organisms in Action                                                                                  

11.3       Organism Abundance, Biomass, and Metabolic Activity                               

11.4       Earthworms                                                                                              

11.5       Ants and Termites                                                                                     

11.6       Soil Microanimals                                                                                      

11.7       Plant Roots                                                                                               

11.8       Soil Algae

11.9       Soil Fungi                                                                                                  

11.10     Soil Prokaryotes: Bacteria and Archaea                                                      

11.11     Conditions Affecting the Growth of Soil Microorganisms                              

11.12     Beneficial Effects of Soil Organisms on Plant Communities                          

11.13     Soil Organisms and Damage to Higher Plants                                              

11.14     Ecological Relationships Among Soil Organisms                                          

11.15     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



12 Soil Organic Matter   

12.1       The Global Carbon Cycle                                                                           

12.2       The Process of Decomposition in Soils                                                        

12.3       Factors Controlling Rates of Decomposition and Mineralization                     

12.4       Genesis and Nature of Soil Organic Matter and Humus                                

12.5       Influences of Organic Matter on Plant Growth and Soils                              

12.7       Influence of Organic Matter on Soil Properties and the Environment             

12.6       Amounts and Quality of Soil Organic Matter                                               

12.7       Carbon Balance in the Soil—Plant—Atmosphere System                                

12.8       Factors and Practices Influencing Soil Organic Matter Levels                      

12.9       The Greenhouse Effect: Soils and Climate Change                                       

12.10     Composts and Composting                                                                         

12.11     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



13 Nitrogen and Sulfur Economy of Soils  

13.1       Influence of Nitrogen on Plant Growth and Development                             

13.2       Distribution of Nitrogen and the Nitrogen Cycle                                           

13.3       Immobilization and Mineralization                                                                

13.4       Soluble Organic Nitrogen                                                                           

13.5       Ammonium Fixation by Clay Minerals                                                         

13.6       Ammonia Volatilization                                                                              

13.7       Nitrification                                                                                               

13.8       The Nitrate Leaching Problem                                                                    

13.9       Gaseous Losses by Denitrification                                                              

13.10     Biological Nitrogen Fixation                                                                        

13.11     Symbiotic Fixation with Legumes                                                                

13.12     Symbiotic Fixation with Nonlegumes                                                           

13.13     Nonsymbiotic Nitrogen Fixation                                                                  

13.14     Nitrogen Deposition from the Atmosphere                                                   

13.15     Practical Management of Soil Nitrogen                                                       

13.16     Importance of Sulfur

13.17     Natural Sources of Sulfur                                                                           

13.18     The Sulfur Cycle                                                                                       

13.19     Behavior of Sulfur Compounds in Soils                                                        

13.20     Sulfur Oxidation and Reduction                                                                   

13.21     Sulfur Retention and Exchange                                                                   

13.22     Sulfur and Soil Fertility Maintenance                                                           

13.23     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



14 Soil Phosphorus and Potassium   

14.1       Role of Phosphorus in Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility                                 

14.2       Effects of Phosphorus on Environmental Quality                                          

14.3       The Phosphorus Cycle                                                                               

14.4       Organic Phosphorus in Soils                                                                       

14.5       Inorganic Phosphorus in Soils                                                                     

14.6       Solubility of Inorganic Phosphorus in Acid Soils                                           

14.7       Inorganic Phosphorus Availability at High pH Values                                   

14.8       Phosphorus-Fixation Capacity of Soils                                                         

14.9       Practical Control of Phosphorus in Soils

14.10     Potassium: Nature and Ecological Roles                                                      

14.11     Potassium in Plant and Animal Nutrition                                                      

14.12     The Potassium Cycle                                                                                 

14.13     The Potassium Problem in Soil Fertility                                                        

14.14     Forms and Availability of Potassium in Soils                                                

14.15     Factors Affecting Potassium Fixation in Soils                                               

14.16     Practical Aspects of Potassium Management                                              

14.17     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



15 Micronutrients and Other Trace Elements   

15.1       Calcium as Essential Nutrient

15.2       Magnesium as a Plant Nutrient

15.3       Deficiency Versus Toxicity                                                                        

15.4       Micronutrient Roles in Plants                                                                      

15.5       Source of Micronutrients                                                                            

15.6       General Conditions Conducive to Trace Element Deficiency/Toxicity            

15.7       Factors Influencing the Availability of the Trace Element Cations                 

15.8       Organic Compounds as Chelates                                                                

15.9       Factors Influencing the Availability of the Trace Element Anions                  

15.10     Need for Nutrient Balance                                                                         

15.11     Soil Management and Trace Element Needs                                               

15.12     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



16 Practical Nutrient Management   

16.1       Goals of Nutrient Management                                                                   

16.2       Environmental Quality                                                                                

16.3       Nutrient Resources and Cycles                                                                   

16.4       Recycling Nutrients through Animal Manures                                              

16.5       Industrial and Municipal By-Products                                                          

16.6       Practical Utilization of Organic Nutrient Sources                                         

16.7       Inorganic Commercial Fertilizers                                                                 

16.8       Fertilizer Application Methods                                                                    

16.9       Timing of Fertilizer Application                                                                   

16.10     Diagnostic Tools and Methods                                                                    

16.11     Soil Analysis                                                                                              

16.12     Site-Index Approach to Phosphorus Management                                        

16.13     Broader Aspects of Fertilizer Practice                                                        

16.14     Conclusion

Study Questions                                                                                         



17 Soil Erosion and Its Control   

17.1       Significance of Soil Erosion and Land Degradation                                       

17.2       On-Site and Off-Site Effects of Accelerated Soil Erosion                             

17.3       Mechanics of Water Erosion                                                                      

17.4       Models to Predict the Extent of Water-Induced Erosion                               

17.5       Factors Affecting Interrill and Rill Erosion                                                   

17.6       Conservation Tillage                                                                                  

17.7       Vegetative Barriers                                                                                   

17.8       Control of Gully Erosion and Mass Wasting                                                 

17.9       Control of Accelerated Erosion on Range and Forest Land                           

17.10     Erosion and Sediment Control on Construction Sites                                     

17.11     Wind Erosion: Importance and Factors Affecting It                                      

17.12     Predicting and Controlling Wind Erosion                                                      

17.13     Land Capability Classification as a Guide to Conservation                            

17.14     Progress in Soil Conservation                                                                     

17.15     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



18 Soils and Chemical Pollution   

18.1       Toxic Organic Chemicals                                                                           

18.2       Kinds of Organic Contaminants                                                                  

18.3       Behavior of Organic Chemicals in Soil                                                        

18.4       Effects of Pesticides on Soil Organisms                                                      

18.5       Remediation of Soils Contaminated with Organic Chemicals                         

18.6       Contamination with Toxic Inorganic Substances                                           

18.7       Potential Hazards of Chemicals in Sewage Sludge                                       

18.8       Reactions of Inorganic Contaminants in Soils                                               

18.9       Prevention and Elimination of Inorganic Chemical Contamination                  

18.10     Landfills                                                                                                    

18.11     Radionuclides in Soil                                                                                  

18.12     Radon Gas from Soils                                                                                

18.13     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



19 Geographic Soils Information   

19.1       Soil Spatial Variability in the Field                                                               

19.2       Techniques and Tools for Mapping Soils                                                      

19.3       Modern Technology for Soil Investigations                                                  

19.4       Remote Sensing Tools for Soils Investigations                                              

19.5       Air Photos                                                                                                 

19.6       Satellite Imagery                                                                                        

19.7       Soil Surveys                                                                                              

19.8       The County Soil Survey Report and Its Utilization                                        

19.9       Geographic Information Systems                                                                

19.10     GIS, GPS, and Site-Specific Agriculture                                                      

19.11     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



20 Prospects for Global Soil Quality   

20.1       The Concept of Soil Quality/Soil Health

20.2       Soil Resistance and Resilience

20.3       Soils and Global Ecosystem Services

20.4       Sustaining The Human Population                                                               

20.5       Intensified Agroecosystems–The Green Revolution                                    

20.6       Effects of Intensified Agroecosystems on Soil Quality or Health                   

20.7       More People on Less Land                                                                        

20.8       Soils in Sustainable Agriculture for Developed Counties                               

20.9       Soils in Sustainable Agriculture for Developing Countries                             

20.10     Urban Soils and Soil Quality                                                                       

20.11     Future Prospects

20.12     Conclusion                                                                                                

Study Questions                                                                                         



Appendix A Soil Classification: World Resource Base; Autralian and Canadian Systems            

Appendix B SI Units, Conversion Factors, Periodic Table of the Elements and Scentific Names of Plants Mentioned  



Product Details

Brady, Nyle C.
Academic Internet Publishers
Weil, Ray R.
Brady, Nyle C., Emeritus Professor
Weil, Raymond C.
Weil, Raymond
Cram101 Textbook Reviews
Nyle C. Brady Emeritus Professor
Agriculture - Soil Science
Soil science
Agriculture - Agronomy - Soil Science
Agriculture & Animal Husbandry
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
July 2007
Grade Level:
11 x 8.2 x 1.5 in 1973 gr

Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » Soil
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Management

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