Soil science is the study of soil as a natural resource on the surface of the earth including soil formation, classification and mapping; physical, chemical, biological, and fertility properties of soils and these properties in relation to the use and management of soils. Soil science, since its inception some 150 years ago, has made significant contributions to the quality of human life and has enhanced our understanding of soil resource management to meet the food and fiber needs of humans.
In the last few decades, it has become clearer that this task has to be done in the context of a functional ecosystem. The ability to feed the burgeoning population, while enabling the multi-functionality of land, has raised concerns on food security. The consequence is a new challenge that seeks a balance between human demands and ecosystem services and their integrity. This changing demand of society has spurred new areas of investigation such as soil quality in relation to water quality, land degradation, cycling of bio-geochemicals, soil pollution assessment and monitoring.