Earth and Soil Scientist

Soil plays a critical role in supporting biodiversity and effective ecological functioning. It similarly plays a key role in water purification and acts as a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is further vital in sustaining agriculture for food and economic security. To ensure the sustained health of soil, earth and soil science provides information about its composition and quality to manage changes to soil quality due to overuse, climate change and pollution, amongst others.

Earth and soil scientists analyse the composition, structure and other physical and chemical attributes of soil. They plan and implement soil management programmes and conduct environmental impact assessments for urban parks, agricultural enterprises and industrial sites. They can also develop plans and strategies for the reclamation and preservation of soil in areas such as wetlands, for example.

Earth and soil scientists collaborate with geologists as well as agriculture and environmental engineers to discuss strategies for soil rehabilitation and conservation. They can work between the field, laboratory and office environment, deliberating soil properties and sustainable soil practices.

Skills

A vast knowledge of soil properties and the physical and human interrelationships that impact its quality is needed by earth and soil scientists. They will further benefit from:

  • Extensive research and laboratory analysis competence
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Logical analytical thinking skills
  • Significant problem-solving skills

Tasks

Conduct research and perform analysis on collected soil samples

Develop and coordinate the implementation of soil management systems

Conduct environmental impact audits and make recommendations

Advise and provide support services to varied stakeholders

Studies

B.Sc.Agric., B.Sc.Agric. (Hons), M.Sc. Agric. in Soil Science at SU, UFH, UFS, UKZN, UL, Univen and UP

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons),M.Sc. in Geography specialising in Geomorphology at NMU, SU, UCT, UFH, UFS, UJ, UKZN, Univen, Unizulu, UP and Wits

Employers

National, provincial and local government.

Research institutions.

Private consultancies.

Agricultural production and fertilizer manufacturing companies.

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