Edaphology is the science that studies the soil, its origin and evolution as well as its physical, chemical and biological processes. To this end, there is a varied work methodology that highlights the performance of geological profiles and physical, chemical and sedimentological analyses. In addition, among the most common tools used in Edaphology are localized maps, specific cartographies and a specific taxonomy for each type of soil.
The studies carried out by specialists in this science have several applications, but always with the clear objective of protecting and protecting the soil as a resource, avoiding any erosion, degradation or contamination.
Based on its general characteristics, edaphology is capable of dividing the soil into several classes. Its most common classification can be carried out according to the compositions and morphologies presented by the soil, emphasizing properties that are measurable or that can be observed or felt. So, for example, soils can be grouped according to their depth, color, structure , texture, chemical composition , etc.
On the other hand, in most cases, soils present a series of characteristic layers called horizons, which are a basic tool for their classification. In this way, the nature, thickness and arrangement of the horizons also allow us to classify the soils into different groups .
Precursors of Edaphology
The study of soil is something that has worried man for a long time, although edaphology did not recognize it as a science. However, there are a number of scholars who can be called precursors of edaphology.
This is the case of the Roman Catão, who in the 2nd century BC, carried out the first classification of the soil. Even so, the most important writer of this time was undoubtedly Columela, who left to history countless works analyzing the characteristics of the soil together with various classifications according to its value for agriculture .
Later, in the 7th century d. C., would be the Andalusian sage Ibn al-Awwan who continued the work of the previous sages presenting new and more complete classifications.
However, the real revolution came in the 18th century when Walerius introduced chemistry into the study of soil. In his studies, Walerius analyzed the plants comparing their results with the chemical analysis of the germinating soils, serving as a basis for the further development of the modern agricultural industry.