Update: 21.11.2017

It can take more than 1000 years to form a centimeter of topsoil.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

Zbigniew Zagorski (Poland)

Zbigniew Zagorski (Poland)

Name:          Zbigniew Zagorski

Age:             59

Address:       Department of Soil Environment Sciences

                   Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW

                   159 Nowoursynowska Str.

                   02-776 Warsaw, Poland

E-mail:          zbigniew_zagorski@sggw.pl

Position:        University Professor

                   Vice Chair Commission 1.3. Soil Genesis (since 2010)

                   President of Polish Soil Science Society (since 2011)

1. When did you decide to study soil science?

During my studies at the Department of Geology at the University of Warsaw, one of the many items was pedology. Lectures on the soil were very interesting for me - I met an unusual point of view on the layer on which I trampled down. In 1981, I started working in the Department of Soil Science at Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW. A group of friendly people I have met and good facilities in this department enabled me to develop my interests involving soils. In 1988, I defended my PhD thesis on identification litho- and pedologic processes in soils derived from glacial deposits. For many years I conducted research of soils derived from limestones (rendzinas).

2. Who has been your most influential teacher?

The most influential teacher for me has been Professor Krystyna Konecka-Betley, an expert in paleopedology and soil genesis. She introduced me in problems concerning paleosoils developed within aeolian sediments (loess and sandy dunes). In 1985, we participated in the Congress of INQUA where I presented my research results for the first time. To some extent, R. Brewer was the person who influenced me greatly even though we never met. His book “Fabric and Mineral Analysis of Soils”, gave me the basis for my scientific activity in soil science.

3. What do you find most exciting about soil science?

In my opinion, the most exciting are issues from the borderland of geology and soil science. For example, the transformation of minerals and rocks in the soil substrate as a result of weathering processes has not been sufficiently understood yet. Also the influence of soil-forming processes on the spatial distribution of soil components is not fully clear.

Nowadays, wide access to modern research tools allows us to solve these problems. That's why I'm interested in the genesis of the soils and especially in soil mineralogy and soil micromorphology as tools for resolving problems concerning soil genesis.

4. How would you stimulate teenagers and young graduates to study soil science?  

I think the most effective way to stimulate teenagers is a discussion in the field. Outdoor meetings are the best to explain the relationship between landscape, soil and geological background

5. How do you see the future of soil science?

In my opinion, the soil science still has great prospects. However, we must increase our efforts to promote knowledge involving soils at each level of education. The only way to protect the soil cover is the education of people about the role of soil in the environment and human economy.