Soil’s Social and Cultural Connections

Document Type


Journal Title

Soil Horizons

Publication Date



No one can deny that soil's most significant role to humankind stems from its numerous ecosystem services, including its ability to produce food, breakdown organic matter, and sustain the entire food web. Societies have long recognized how crucial soil is to survival, from birth, through life, and even in death. Society has expressed this recognition for thousands of years through religion, writing, and art, while making use of many of soil's properties for social and cultural services. The International Year of Soils will end by celebrating the theme of “Soils, Culture, and People” in December 2015. This essay briefly introduces some of soil's social and cultural connections.


This article is listed as open access on the Soil Horizon's website at: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.2136/sh2015-56-6-gc.

Publisher Statement

Soil Horizons is a discontinued title. Published from 1960 to 2015, Soil Horizons aimed to share the importance of soil science with a larger audience. It featured stories celebrating the diversity and critical impact of soil scientists and their work.