Advances in Hydropedology

H. Lin, J. Bouma, L. P. Wilding, J. L. Richardson, M. Kutílek, D. R. Nielsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

141 Citations (SciVal)


Hydropedology is an intertwined branch of soil science and hydrology that encompasses multiscale basic and applied research of interactive pedological and hydrological processes and their properties in the unsaturated zone. The synergistic integration of classical pedology with soil physics, hydrology, and other related bio- and geosciences into hydropedology suggests a renewed perspective and a more integrated approach to studying landscape-soil-water dynamics across scales. Pedality, layering of soil horizons, and soil-landscape relationships are three essential characteristics of soils as occurring on the landscape. Fundamental issues of hydropedology include (1) soil structure and layering as indicators of flow and transport characteristics in field soils; (2) soil morphology as signatures of soil hydrology; (3) water movement over the landscape; and (4) hydrology as a factor of soil formation and a driving force of dynamic soil system. Hydrology affects and is affected by all of the five natural soil-forming factors and the four general soil-forming processes. Hence, hydropedology offers potential opportunities for quantifying soil-forming processes. Future needs in advancing hydropedology are encapsulated in the philosophy of "bridging disciplines, scales, data, and education." These include (1) systems approaches to understanding and communicating landscape-soil-water dynamics; (2) addressing variability using patterns at various scales; (3) enhancing pedotransfer functions and developing soil inference systems and hydropedoinformatics; and (4) education of the next generation of soil scientists and hydrologists. Hydropedology calls for adequate attention to soil morphology (including soil structure) in the field and soil patterns over the landscape to guide optimal soil physical and hydrological measurements, field monitoring and experimental designs, and understanding and modeling of flow and transport in the critical zone. Identification and prediction of patterns (spatial-temporal organizations) across multiple scales are coming to the forefront in soil science and hydrology, which offer rich and comprehensive insights regarding variability and the underlying processes. We suggest various hydropedological approaches to address diverse knowledge gaps. Given its links to a wide array of environmental, ecological, geological, agricultural, and natural resource issues of societal importance, hydropedology is emerging as a promising field that could contribute significantly to the study of the pedosphere, the hydrological cycle, the earth's critical zone, and the earth system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Agronomy
Number of pages89
StatePublished - 2005

Publication series

NameAdvances in Agronomy
ISSN (Print)0065-2113

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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