See more from this Session: Symposium--the Role of Pedology in Earth System Sciences: Studies of Soil Formation, Weathering, and Biogeochemistry in the Critical Zone: I
Monday, November 1, 2010: 9:55 AM
Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Regency Ballroom A, Third Floor
The term "Critical Zone" is used to describe: "the heterogeneous, near-surface environment in which complex interactions involving rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms regulate the natural habitat and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources". (NRC, 2001) Thus, it is easy to conclude that since its inception in the 19th century, soil science has been conducting research in the “critical zone”. The recent revitalization and renewed discovery of the importance of soil science by numerous U.S. federal agencies has reiterated the importance of soils to human survival. This present interest in soils provides soil scientists and their collaborators with an unprecedented opportunity to take soil science in new directions and educate colleagues in the scientific community of the importance of soils. While the term “Critical Zone” has been applied mainly to US National Science Foundation efforts, this should not limit its perspective. The “Critical Zone” truly embraces dozens of Natural and Earth Science fields and is undoubtedly a fruitful effort to move soil science forward and find the means to sustain society--for without soils, there is no civilization.