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Unnamed Soils, Lost Opportunities

19-lug-2019

https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b03050 Contrary to other things of the natural world, such as plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and even rocks, inexplicably soils are seldom mentionedwith their specific name in the scientific literature. This happens despite soil taxonomies have existed for a long time, proving to be effective in acknowledging by the simple name the fundamental characteristics of any given soil. We examined the 174 most cited original research papers with the word ‘soil’ in the title in the Scopus database and actually dealing with soil, finding that 57% of them do not provide the name of the examined soil(s). Even, twenty-one percent of these papers do not report more than one of those properties particle size distribution, pH, organic matter content, and cation exchange capacity which are the controlling factors of fertility and other ecosystem services of soil. Considering how much literature later referred to such inexhaustive papers, it is clear that the initial missing piece of information propagated a lot. We argue that it is time that soil names become mandatory for publishing future studies dealing with soils, especially in view of the fact that modern technologies allow even those who are not skilled in pedology to attribute the appropriate name to every soil, anywhere and in real time.