FIGURE 1.2 A dog's eye view of decomposition and soil organic matter formation. Copyright 1962; reprinted by permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

matter dynamics, but not soil population data, can be attributed to the great redundancy of microbial populations or to the fact that our models are not yet accurate enough to require population input data is yet to be determined. The 10-volume, edited series entitled "Soil Biochemistry" initiated by McLaren and Peterson (1967) has since been coedited by Paul and Ladd and by Stotsky and Bollag. It has brought together information on biologically related soil processes and components, nutrient cycles, and enzymes. It has also covered extraterrestrial life, soil enzymes, and pollutants as they affect soil organisms and the environment. The best way to summarize this section on soil biochemistry is to republish the cartoon from the comic strip Peanuts that was included in the first volume of the "Soil Biochemistry" series (Fig. 1.2).

in perspective

The soil microbiologist, ecologist, and biochemist must be aware that their organisms and processes are affected by soil type, vegetation, landscapes, and management. Forestry and rangelands are a very important component of our studies. Wilde (1946), in his very readable book "Forest Soils and Forest Growth," quotes the following from the Kalevala, the National Epic of the Finns, dated to approximately 900 BCE, showing that early man recognized the interaction of soil type and vegetation.

Seeds upon the land he scatters,

Seeds in every swamp and meadow,

Forest seeds upon the loose earth,

On the firm soil he plants acorns,

Spreads the spruce seeds on the mountains,

And the pine seeds on the hill-tops,

In the swamps he sows the birches,

On the quaking marshes alders,

And the basswood in the valleys,

In the moist earth sows the willows,

Mountain ash in virgin places,

On the banks of streams the hawthorn,

Junipers on knolls and highlands;

Thus his work did Pellerwoinen. . . .

Investigative science

Ecosystem services Global change /

Education BiOre.mediation^ Residue ^ Modeling


FIGURE 1.3 The interplay of soil biota, interactions, and processes in investigative science and management.

The great biodiversity of soil biota in both macro and micro forms, and the important questions that need to be answered, indicate to me that many of the new concepts in our field will come via the study of the physiology and ecology of soil organisms, as well the processes they mediate relative to soil nutrient transformations and global biogeochemical cycles. This text, therefore, has chapters on the physiology-biochemistry of organisms as well as on ecology in an attempt to enhance the understanding required to provide a foundation for the interdisciplinary approaches that will continue to provide exciting new concepts in our field. It is hoped that the individual chapters will provide new breakthroughs, concepts, methods, and ideas, as well as more individualized references. Figure 1.3 shows the interdependence of soil microbiology, ecology, and biochemistry, some of its fields of study, and some of its applications.

The last chapter in this volume will provide an oversight of the individual chapters and, it is hoped, provide insights into the future.

This edition is dedicated to that great soil microbiologist, F. E. Clark, whose keen insight and clear writing were such a joy to read in many early publications, as well as in the first two editions of "Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry."

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