Earth Matters: How Soil Underlies Civilization by Richard D. Bardgett

Earth Matters: How soil underlies civilization - Richard Bardgett

Soil plays an important part in our daily lives. Entire societies have risen, and collapsed, through the management and mismanagement of soil. This book is for those who know little about soil and want to know more about soil and the ways that humans depend on it and transform it. The author takes a look at the diversity of life within the soil and the vast range of roles that life plays in maintaining the health and fertility of soil. The author also takes a look at how humans have modified the soil (agriculture, cities, war) and looks at the future, exploring ways to sustainably manage soils.

This is a short, interesting, basic introduction on how soil affects us and has been affected by us. I would have liked more diagrams would have been useful, as well as more details about the individual subjects, but this is specifically an introductory text so that is perhaps asking for too much. There are also too many long, run-on sentences that could use an editor. There is minimal technical language in this book, making it ideal for non-scientists.

The author states that his goal is to "awaken awareness of the many ways that soil has, and continues to affect, our lives." I believe he may have accomplished this goal provided this book gains a wide readership - maybe part of a high school or collage recommended reading list?


Other Recommended Book:


  • Dirt:  The Erosion of Civilizations by David R Montgomery
  • Terra Preta:  How the World's Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger by Ute Scheub, Haiko Pieplow, Hans-Peter Schmidt, Kathleen Draper.