Soil ecology is the study of interactions between the physio-chemical components of the soil and organisms living within the soil. Humans are highly dependent upon the soil ecosystem, which provides food, fibre, fuel and ecological services, such as the recycling of atmospheric gases. It is therefore important to understand the function and nature of the soil ecosystem in order to predict and mitigate the long term consequences of present day actions. Soil Ecology and Management describes the organisms inhabiting the soil, their functions and interactions and the dimensions of human impact on the activity of soil organisms and soil ecological function. Chapters discuss basic soil characteristics and biogeochemical cycling, key soil flora and fauna, community-level dynamics (soil food webs) and the ecological and pedological functions of soil organisms. Unlike other soil biology and ecology textbooks, the authors also convey a better understanding of how human activities impact upon soil ecology in a section on ecosystem management and its effects on soil biota.
Joann K. Whalen is an Associate Professor at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Her research program focuses on carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling mediated by soil fauna in soil-plant systems at scales ranging from the rhizosphere to the ecosystem-level. Professor Whalen teaches courses in soil fertility, organic fertilizer use, nutrient management planning and soil ecology. She is the Special Issues Editor for the Canadian Journal of Soil Science and an Associate Editor for Agronomy Journal. Luis Sampedro is an Associate Researcher at the Lourizan Environmental Research Centre, a governmental research institute in Galicia, NW Spain. He has taught courses in terrestrial ecology and soil ecology, and his current research program involves terrestrial ecology in a broad sense, including nutrient cycling in forest soils and the ecological interactions between plants and their insect herbivores.