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Soils in the city

The editors of CSA News Magazine used our photograph of a tree well in Washington Square Park to illustrate the feature article in the August issue of the journal. The article is about urban soils and here is an excerpt:
Cities are often thought of as concrete jungles. Yet under all of the concrete exists
a whole lot of soil—complex mixtures of minerals, water, air, and organic matter
that perform many critical ecosystem functions. As our world becomes increasingly
urbanized, the importance of studying these soils is coming to be recognized both
from a purely scientific perspective and as a tool for sustainability in urban environments. SSSA is in the process of forming an Urban Soils Task Force, which will work to promote the study of urban soils within the Societies, provide education on soils for the range of constituents in urban areas, and integrate an understanding of soils into urban planning and infrastructure.

An appropriate understanding of soils plays a critical role in urban areas for a range
of stakeholders including urban planners, urban residual management, and urban
farmers. From a traditional soil science perspective, an understanding of ecosystem
processes in urban areas is emerging as a field of study. This article highlights the role of soils in urban areas from this range of perspectives and is co-authored by a subset of the many members of SSSA who are studying varying aspects of soils in cities.
You can access the complete article at

The German magazine Die Gazette used one of our photographs of the High Line in its Winter 2010/2011 issue.


Dano said…
I'm not sure I see a root flare on that tree.


local ecologist said…
Dano, good observation! The Washington Square Park blog has been following this issue (see and we wrote about at Thanks for the comment.