Soil science has long been a core discipline in many universities and colleges across Canada. Traditionally, soil science as an academic discipline was linked to agriculture programmes, with many of these being among the first to be introduced at universities and colleges across Canada. Over time, however, soil science has spread far beyond its traditional roots and is now foundational in many programs including those in environmental science, geography, and environmental engineering to name a few. A recent Canadian study examining soil science courses in Canada identified 80 post-secondary academic units offering soil science courses (Diochon et al. 2017, Can. J. Soil Sci. 97: 122–132), including 63 offering introductory soil science courses (Krzic et al. 2018, Can. J. Soil Sci. 98: 343–356) with an estimated yearly enrolment of more than 3,000 students.
Several introductory soil science textbooks are available and commonly used as resources; however, until now, none of these textbooks specifically address the soils of Canada or use the Canadian System of Soil Classification when describing soils. The need for a Canadian textbook has long been discussed by members of the Soil Education Committee of the Canadian Society of Soil Science, and in 2018, a proposal to forge ahead with the development of an introductory soil science textbook was enthusiastically supported by the membership of the Canadian Society of Soil Science at its annual general meeting. This textbook is a result of those discussions. Digging Into Canadian Soils: An Introduction to Soil Science, available in both English and French, provides an introduction to the core sub-disciplines of soil science, and introduces the concepts and vocabulary needed by students just beginning their soil science journey. Additionally, the textbook provides supplementary materials that are regionally specific, or may be of specific interest beyond what might be considered core soil science disciplinary material. Importantly, the textbook also is intended to introduce students to the Canadian System of Soil Classification using examples from across Canada, the world’s second largest country by area, and to the Canadian Society of Soil Science, whose members share a common passion for soil science and are keen to share and instill this passion with students across the country and beyond.
Digging Into Canadian Soils: An Introduction to Soil Science is comprised of 17 chapters written by 41 authors and co-authors that cover the core sub-disciplines of soil science (eight chapters), five chapters that describe the distribution of soils across Canada, four special topics chapters, and a Glossary of common terminology used in soil science. Each chapter was overseen by an editor and reviewed by external reviewers. The book chapters are written at a level that assumes an introductory university level understanding of chemistry and biology.
This textbook represents the ideas, inspiration and hard work of many members of the Canadian Society of Soil Science/Société Canadienne de Science du Sol, and is dedicated to the soil scientists who came before us, and to those students who will continue the soil science journey after us.
The Editors: Maja Krzic, Fran Walley, Amanda Diochon, Maxime C. Paré, and Rich Farrell
Canadian Society of Soil Science
The Canadian Society of Soil Science is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that brings together researchers and scientists, engineers, technologists, administrators and students involved in the profession of soil science. The primary objectives of the Society are to:
- promote the wise use of soil for the benefit of society,
- facilitate information and technology exchange among people in the professional soil science community,
- promote research and the practical application of findings in soil science, and
- foster the integration of students into the professional soil science community.
The overarching mission of the Society is to “nurture the discipline of soil science in Canada and ensure its relevance in the future”. What better way to nurture our discipline than to have a Canadian soil science textbook for the next generation of soil scientists?