Book recommendations

I am frequently asked for recommendations for books related to soils. Here, you can find recommendations for books in soil science, soil ecology, biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology, history of and reflections on soil, and science philosophy. If you are looking for something else, please get in touch as I may have other recommendations that may better fit what you are after.

Soil science

FACTORS OF SOIL FORMATION: A SYSTEM OF QUANTITATIVE PEDOLOGY
Hans Jenny, 1941

Why read? This is a classic piece of literature in soil science that describes the 5 soil forming factors and lays out an approach to studying soil formation

Good for: any practicing soil scientist, students of soil science

ELEMENTS OF THE NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF SOIL
Weil & Brady, 2016

Why read? This is the best introduction to soil science textbook available. It is a condensed and readable version of the comprehensive Nature and Properties of Soil textbook. If you want to learn more about soils and don’t know where to start, begin here.

Good for: any practicing soil scientist, students of soil science, researchers new to soils

SOILS: GENESIS AND GEOMORPHOLOGY
Schaetzl & Thompson, 2015

Why read? This is a comprehensive text on the theory and practice of pedology, the study of soil formation. If you are interested in the processes governing how soils form and how we study them, this is the book for you.

Good for: any practicing soil scientist, students of pedology, those interested in theory of soil formation

SOIL GENESIS AND CLASSIFICATION
Buol et al., 2011

Why read? This text is an important resource for soil morphology with a number of useful tables and figures for reference. It is a guide to classifying soils in the field and describes the formation, function, and classification each soil order in detail.

Good for: any practicing soil scientist, students of soil morphology, soil judgersEE

Soil ecology

SOIL MICROBIOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND BIOCHEMISTRY
Paul, 2014

Why read? This is a comprehensive edited volume for soil microbiology, ecology, and biochemistry. The text covers theory, mechanisms, processes, and approaches relevant to soil ecology and provides a very good introduction to the field.

Good for: soil ecologists, students of soil ecology, microbiology or biochemistry, researchers new to field of soil ecology

ENERGETIC FOOD WEBS
Moore & de Ruiter, 2012

Why read? This is the primary book describing an energetic approach to food web modeling that uses soils as a case study for many examples. Much of soil food web theory has been build off of the ideas presented in this book

Good for: soil ecologists, food web ecologists, quantitative community ecologists

Biogeochemistry & Ecosystem Ecology

BIOGEOCHEMISTRY: AN ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL CHANGE
Schlesinger & Bernhardt, 2013

Why read? This is the comprehensive text for biogeochemistry that covers everything from the origin of elements to global cycles of important elements. The chapters are framed in the context of global change.

Good for: biogeochemists, students of biogeochemistry, ecology, and global change, ecosystem ecologists

PRINCIPLES OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM ECOLOGY
Chapin et al., 2011

Why read? This is the most comprehensive ecosystem ecology textbook available. It is extremely readable with many easy to understand figures, diverse examples, and an easy to follow organizational structure.

Good for: ecosystem ecologists, biogeochemists, students of ecology

history OF and reflections on soil

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SOIL: PEOPLE AND IDEAS IN SOIL HISTORY
Warkentin, 2006

Why read? Soils have been a part of human culture and history since the earliest recordings. This edited volume covers it all. This book is perfect for anyone interested in the history of the human connection to soils.

Good for: soil scientists, those interested in soils, historians, agronomists

SOIL: REFLECTIONS ON THE BASIS OF OUR EXISTENCE
Wallander, 2014

Why read? This is a fun, lighthearted read that is part memoir, part popular science. It follows the authors career in soils and highlights the many important aspects of soils in an easy to read format.

Good for: soil scientists, students of soils, non-professionals interested in soils

Science Philosophy

THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS
Thomas Kuhn, 1962

Why read? If you only read one book on science philosophy, let is be this one. Kuhn describes the process of scientific progress and popularizes the term “paradigm”. A must read for any scientist.

Good for: all scientists, all interested in science

PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION
Okasha, 2002

Why read? This is a concise and useful introduction to science philosophy that describes the history of science philosophy and how our ideas about the scientific approach has changed over time.

Good for: all scientists, students of science, all interested in science.