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Towards diverse representation and inclusion in soil science in the United States

Written by: Tiffany L. Carter, Lydia L. Jennings, Yamina Pressler, Adrian C. Gallo, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Erika Marín-Spiotta, Christopher Shepard, Teamrat Ghezzehei, Karen L. Vaughan
Published on: Jun 10, 2023

Soil scientists
Photo credit: tonefotografia/ Adobe Stock

Soil science is one of the least diverse subdisciplines within the agricultural, earth, and natural sciences.

Representation within soil science does not currently reflect demographic trends in the United States. We synthesize available data on the representation of historically marginalized groups in soil science in the United States and identify historical mechanisms contributing to these trends. We review education and employment information within academia and the federal government, land-grant university participation, and available Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) membership data to gain insight into the current state of representation within soil sciences and implications for the future of this discipline. Across all domains of diversity, historically marginalized groups are under-represented in soil science.

We provide recommendations toward recognizing diversity within the field and improving and encouraging diversity within the SSSA, and suggested responses for both individuals and institutions toward improving diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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