Soil formation reflects the complex interaction of many factors, among the most important of which are (i) the nature of the soil parent material, (ii) regional climate, (iii) organisms, including humans, (iv) topography and (v) time. These processes operate in Earth's critical zone; the thin veneer of our planet where rock meets life. Understanding the operation of these soil-forming factors requires an interdisciplinary approach and is a necessary predicate to charactering soil processes and functions, mitigating soil degradation and adapting soil management to environmental change. In this chapter, we discuss how these soil-forming factors operate both singly and in concert in natural and human modified environments. We emphasize the role that soil organic matter plays in these processes to provide context for understanding the benefits that it bestows on humanity.
Additional publication details
|Publication type||Book chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Title||Soil formation: Chapter 6|
|Contributing office(s)||Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center|
|Larger Work Type||Book|
|Larger Work Title||Soil carbon: Science, management and policy for multiple benefits|