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Book: Managing Soils in an Urban Environment
Published by: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. i-xvii
    Agronomy Monograph 39.
    Managing Soils in an Urban Environment

    Randall B. Brown, J. Herbert Huddleston and James L. Anderson (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-231-3

    unlockOPEN ACCESS

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Front Matter


Soils—the biologically active layer of the earth's regolith—have provided and continue to provide the sustenance of humankind. Soils and their connections to the rise and fall of ancient as well as modem civilizations are well documented. Only in the last decade has the number of urban dwellers exceeded the number of tillers of the land on a global basis. Urbanization and associated land use and soil management issues have created new domains for soil scientists and agronomists. No longer is the study of soils focused solely on soil biology, nutrients and nutrient management, tilth and tillage, drainage and soil-water storage systems for the benefit of crops. Increasingly, understanding the occurrence, distribution, nature, and appropriate management of soils for roads, houses, buildings and other human-engineered artificial environments is of concern to soil scientists, land managers, environmental scientists, and biologists. Challenges extend to the determination and fostering of appropriate use of urban soils for waste disposal, pest management, erosion and sediment control, construction, and minimization of radon risk.

As scientists serving all of society, we find new applications for our science and new needs for investigation. The properties and principles of soils remain the same but the clientele and their questions differ. New concepts in soil utilization are being forged. Soil is a part of all of our communities, rural and urban, and the manner in which we manage and preserve this valuable natural resource influences the integrity, stability, and beauty of our communities and quality of life and the environment. Communicating the qualities and appropriate management of urban soils is the goal of this publication.

Vernon B. Cardwell, president, ASA

Ronald L. Phillips, president, CSSA

Donald L. Sparks, president, SSSA


Soil science, with its roots in both the plant sciences and geology, first came into being as a recognizable discipline in response to questions concerning plant growth. The chemical and physical characteristics of the soil as well as landscape processes that controlled those characteristics were of great interest to agronomists, horticulturists, geographers, geomorphologists, and geologists, some of whom drifted into one another's orbit and—over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—brought their experiences and talents together to form the nucleus of soil science. In those early years, a perception developed that soil science was simply an agricultural and edaphological science, which indeed it was in large measure.

However pervasive and stubborn that perception was, there has been from the beginning a segment of the community of soil scientists that has maintained an interest in soil science “writ large.” These soil scientists, while continuing to interact with agronomists, horticulturists, and foresters, have maintained communications, collaborations, and linkages with such disciplines as geology, geomorphology, geography, land use planning, and engineering. In the second half of the twentieth century, soil science has expanded its contacts with these nonagricultural disciplines, and now finds itself addressing a much wider range of problems, questions, and issues than it did in the first half of the century. In response to a growing demand for information, nonagricultural land uses increasingly have been the focus of soil studies and of the development of soil interpretations and other decision tools for land users.

This volume is an assembly of writings on the application of soil science and related disciplines to a breadth of land, soil, water, and biological problems occurring in the urban/suburban environment. This material will not displace—but rather will complement—the large and growing body of literature dealing with the management of urban soils for plant growth. The information assembled here is intended to constitute a desk reference for practicing soil scientists, horticulturists, landscape architects, urban foresters, biologists, conservationists, engineers, consultants, builders, land use planners, environmental health officials, educators, students, policy makers, and other citizens who have — or ought to have — an appreciation of the occurrence, properties, behavior, and management of land, soil, and closely related resources in the urbanisuburban environment.

We thank the chapter authors for agreeing upon our invitation to contribute their time, talents, ideas, and experiences to this monograph. Appreciation is extended also to Fred Miller and the other members of the Feasibility Committee that laid the groundwork for this effort; to Jim Patterson, who had major input in giving the monograph its initial conceptual shape; and to Dick Weismiller, who served as the first chair of the Editorial Committee. We are grateful as well to the many people who served as blind referees for the manuscripts. These referees included Jim Balogh, Jim Barrett, Jay Bell, Scott Burns, Dave Cremeens, Jack DeAngelis, Del Fanning, Tom Fenton, Carrie Foss, Tom Halbach, Willie Harris, Mike Hoover, Gary Johnson, Ellis Knox, Bill Koskinen, Terry Logan, Maurice Mausbach, Dave Mulla, Ed Nater, Eugene Papineau, Ramesh Reddy, John Reynolds, Carl Rosen, Joe Schaefer, Randy Schumann, Kevin Sherman, Ron Sletten, Gary Steinhardt, Earl Stone, and Dan Sullivan. Finally, we thank managing editor Jon Bartels and colleagues on the ASA headquarters staff for their good work in bringing the project to completion.


Randall B. Brown

Soil and Water Science Department

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

J. Herbert Huddleston

Crop and Soil and Science Department

Oregon State University

Cowallis, Oregon

James L. Anderson

Department of Soil, Water, and Climate

University of Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota


Damann L. Anderson Vice President, Ayres Associates, 8875 Hidden River Pkwy, Ste. 200, Tampa, FL 33637

James L. Anderson Professor and Director, Water Resources Center, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55 108-6028

James G. Barrett Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Barrett Erosion and Sediment Control Services, 7610 S.E. Holgate Blvd., Portland, OR 97206

Eric G. Bolen Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28403-3297

Carl E. Bouchard President and Professional Engineer, The Bouchard Group, 9603 Bronte Dr., Fairfax, VA 22032-3903

Randall B. Brown Professor and Extension Specialist in Soils and Land Use, Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0510

Mary E. Collins Professor of Environmental Pedology, Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 3261 1-0290

Christine V. Evans Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824

Delvin S. Fanning Professor Emeritus, Department of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

Thomas E. Fenton Professor of Agronomy, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

Austin K. Hagan Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5624

C. Thomas Hallmark Professor of Soil Science, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474

J. Herbert Huddleston Professor and Extension Soil Scientist, Crop and Soil and Science Department. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-7306

Barrett L. Kays President, Landis, Inc., P.O. Box 30069, Raleigh, NC 27622-0069

Gerald Kidder Professor and Extension Soils Specialist, Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0290

Ellis G. Knox Soil Scientist (retired), Natural Resources Conservation Service, 7011 Lincolnshire Road, Lincoln, NE 68506

Russell F. Mizell, III Professor of Entomology, North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Rt. 4, Box 4092, Monticello, FL 32344

Kirk K. Nielson Vice President, Rogers & Associates Engineering Unit, Dames & Moore, URS Corp., 515 East 4500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84107

Richard J. Otis Vice President, Ayres Associates, 2445 Darwin Road, Madison, Wisconsin 53704

Vern C. Rogers President, Rogers & Associates Engineering Corporation, 515 East 4500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84 107

John R. Short Computer Specialist, National Business Center, US. Department of the Interior, 1849 C St., NW, Washington, DC 20240



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