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HZAU Team Takes 14-year to Establish “Identity archives” for Soil

Soil Series of China·Hubei Volume and Soil Series of China· Jiangxi Volume, the important parts of the Soil Series of China appeared in the National “13th Five-Year” Scientific and Technological Innovation Achievement Exhibition on October 21-27. Led by Prof. Cai Chongfa and Prof. Wang Tianwei from the College of Resources & Environment of HZAU, teachers and students jointly completed these two books.
Soil series is the basic unit of soil type, and soil series records are commonly understood as establishing an “identity archives” for soil. These two volumes, crystalized through 14-year joint efforts and cumulative mileage of over 50,000 kilometers, contain 222 soil families and 301 new soil series with a total of more than 1.16 million words. All together 378 typical soil profiles were investigated, nearly 2,000 soil samples were collected, and about 400,000 pieces of information on soil-forming factors, soil profile morphology and soil physical and chemical properties were obtained.

Researchers work in the field late at night.

Soil taxonomic research includes a lot of field sampling work, which is far more difficult than imagined. Waking up early and working late, trekking through the mountains and sleeping in the wind ... These scenes are all familiar to soil taxonomy researchers. The identification process of each soil series is so complicated that the compiler not only needs to have sufficient professional knowledge of geography, agronomy, surveying and mapping, but also needs to have a strong physique and perseverance to endure hardships.

The researchers are taking samples in farmland.

Prof. Wang said: “Since ancient times when soil was divided into five categories according to the color, China had long led the world in soil taxonomy. But in modern times, a noticeable gap has been gradually widening with Western countries. As soil researchers, we are eager to be devoted to the discipline we love instead of lagging behind developed countries.”
The research could not have been completed without the decade-long hard work of teachers and students, as well as the strong support from the Hubei Cultivated Land Quality and Fertilizer Work Station, Jiangxi Soil and Fertilizer Technology Extension Station and Jiangxi Agricultural University. Prof. Cai said: “Our work is fundamental to soil science. Though the research funds are limited, and it is difficult for us to publish high-level papers on relevant scientific achievements in a short time, all of us participate in the work with great passion. It also fosters the dedication of young researchers to science. The inclusion of relevant research results in the ‘13th Five-Year’ Scientific and Technological Innovation Achievement Exhibition will encourage more researchers to endure intensely solitary days and forge ahead to meet the needs of national development.”

Translated by: Liu Shuying
Supervised by: Xie Lujie