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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Origin and Acceptance of the Term Pedology


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 63 No. 1, p. 4-10
    Received: Feb 7, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Roy W. Simonson 
  1. Kendal at Oberlin, 21 Kendal Drive, Oberlin, OH 44074-1901



After F.A. Fallou (1794–1877) introduced the term pedology in Saxony in 1862, it was dormant for some decades. Acceptance and general use of the term began in Russia following development of a new approach to the study of soils by Dokuchaiev and his students in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Soil scientists elsewhere in the world did not pick up the term, however, before the 20th century. Widespread use followed the First International Congress of Soil Science, held in the USA in 1927. The Congress and associated activities gave the term a big boost, not only in the USA. In 1929, the American Soil Survey Association, precursor of the Soil Science Society of America, adopted a resolution urging that pedology be accepted as the proper name for scientific investigations of soils. Teaching of the Dokuchaiev factors of soil formation, which began soon afterward, promoted progressively wider acceptance of the term, especially in the USA. These trends culminated in adoption of pedology as the name for a division of the Soil Science Society of America in 1994. During the same period, acceptance of the term was underway in all parts of the world.

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