Soils as a Key Component of the Critical Zone 1

Functions and Services

Volume 1 – Soils SET Coordinated by Christian Valentin

Soils as a Key Component of the Critical Zone 1

Edited by

Jacques Berthelin, Académie d’Agriculture de France
Christian Valentin, Institut d'Ecologie et des Sciences de l’Environnement, Paris, France
Jean Charles Munch, Technical University of Munich, Germany

ISBN : 9781786302151

Publication Date : July 2018

Hardcover 340 pp

165.00 USD



Scientific, socioeconomic, political and media interest in soils has re-emerged in recent years. Soil is now recognized, not only as a substrate for crop production and human activities, but as a regulator of natural environmental balance (for example, supporting water, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles) and also as an essential terrestrial compartment of the biosphere, containing 25% of terrestrial biodiversity. Soils are also a vessel for the past, conserving traces of human activities and continental environments. The remarkable multifunctionality of soils places them at the heart of the Critical Zone of humanity.

But what do we really know about soils? How are they studied? How are they defined? What is their place in Earth’s biosphere? How are they formed? And what exactly do they do? These are just some of the questions that this book answers, providing definitions, helpful summaries and pertinent discussions on the properties of soils, as well as an exploration of their functions and services, the mounting pressures they face and future avenues in soils research.


Foreword, André Mariotti
1.Soils as a Key Component of the Critical Zone,
Jacques Berthelin, Guilhem Bourrié, Michel-Claude Girard, Guillaume Dhérissard and Christian Valentin.
2. Understanding Soils for Their More Efficient Management: A National Soil Information System,
Marion Bardy, Dominique Arrouays, Claudy Jolivet, Bertrand Laroche, Christine Le Bas, Manuel Martin, Céline Ratié, Anne C. Richer-de-Forges, Nicolas Saby, Véronique Antoni, Antonio Bispo, Michel Brossard, Jean-Luc Fort, Joëlle Sauter and Chantal Gascuel.
3. Soils and Regulation of the Hydrological Cycle, Marc Voltz, Cécile Dagès, Laurent Prévot and Ary Bruand.
4.Soils as Bio-physicochemical Reactors, Fabienne Trolard and Guilhem Bourrié.
5. Soils are Biosystems, Habitats and Reserves of Biodiversity, Jacques Berthelin, Éric Blanchart, Jean Trap and Jean Charles Munch.
6. Soils, a Factor in Plant Production: Agroecosystems, Claire Chenu, Jean Roger-Estrade, Chantal Gascuel and Christian Walter.
7. Forest Soils: Characteristics and Sustainability, Jacques Ranger.
8. Soils and Energy, Isabelle Feix.
9. Soils, Materials, and Infrastructure Supports, Guilhem Bourrié and Fabienne Trolard.
10. Cultural Dimensions of Soils, Suzanne Mériaux and Michel-Claude Girard
11. Environmental and Societal Memories of Soils, Marie-Agnès Courty.
12. A Mesological Point of View, Pierre Donadieu.

About the authors/editors

Jacques Berthelin is former Research Director at CNRS and a member of the Académie d’Agriculture de France, Paris.

Christian Valentin, a member of the Académie d’Agriculture de France, is Research Director at IRD and Deputy Director of the Institut d'Ecologie et des Sciences de l’Environnement, Paris.

Jean Charles Munch is Emeritus Professor at the Technical University of Munich in Germany and former Director of the Institute of Soil Ecology at Helmholtz Zentrum München. He is also a member of the Académie d’Agriculture de France.