Developed for non-agricultural majors, Soils, Land, and Life, 1st Edition, examines how and why various types of soil and land are used for human food production. Unbiased in approach, it discusses the physical and chemical land and soil requirements needed to produce food and how economic, social, and political environments influence agricultural productivity. Presenting an array of soil and land properties and farming methods-ranging from slash and burn to highly technical practices-the author draws on his 40 years of worldwide experience to give readers a glimpse at the historical developments, natural resource concerns, and farming practices impacting human food production today.Examines the physical and chemical requirements involved with human food production-from a non-majors perspective. Presents the basics of how soils and land function and examines the impact of water, temperature and chemical elements on food production using minimal scientific terminology. Covers how and why various kinds of soil and land are used for human food production, while minimizing intricate mathematical calculations and in-depth explanations of chemistry and physics. Examines how economics, society and politics-influence agricultural systems and farming practices.Moves beyond explaining the physical and chemical requirements of human food production to encompass the economic, social and political factors that impact farming practices and overall productivity. Offers numerous examples and practices from various parts of the world to demonstrate how society, politics and economics impact production. Offers a global perspective-which discusses the role of agriculture in societies around the world. Illustrates farming practices in various parts of the world and on various types of land and soil. Covers current farming methods being used in other countries, from the recent advances in farming on the poorest soils to the slash and burn farming in tropical jungles. Shows the historical development of food production practices-throughout the text.Contains graphs of crop yields and land area used for human food production in the United States and elsewhere over the 20th century.Presents historical data to show how modern practices have reduced the cost of food and the amount of land needed to feed a growing population. Places chapters on water and temperature-early in the text.Helps students understand the ramifications of weather events and worldwide climatic patterns on farming practices. Provides a strong foundation and makes later chapters on leaching, ground water contamination, floods and erosion easier to understand. Examines the need to replenish essential elements-where food crops are harvested.Emphasizes the delicate balance of essential elements from the air and in the soil and presents the basic physical and chemical dynamics of the human food chain.