In recent decades there has been rapid development in numerous branches of science, including soil science. Knowledge from other fields of science have been increasingly exploited in soil science, and soil is now studied not only in terms of production, but also in terms of its non-production functions, essential for the landscape and environment. The range of topics and issues is best shown in the following description of CSSS-related worksites and their activities in the field of soil science:

Academic worksites

The Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection in the Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources at the Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) Prague ( deals with soil contamination and acidification (L. Borůvka, O. Drábek, A. Vaněk), medicament and pesticide behaviour, modelling of transport processes in soil (R. Kodešová, M. Kočárek), organic matter (L. Pavlů, V. Tejnecký), erosion, soil classification (V. Penížek, T. Zádorová), soil spectroscopy (A. Klement), soil database systems and (digital) soil mapping (L. Borůvka, J. Kozák, V. Penížek, R. Vašát, A. Gholizadeh), soil reclamation (J. Kozák), and soil evaluation (J. Janků). The Department provides lectures and courses for all faculties of CULS and the Faculty of Science at Charles University in Prague, as well as providing the only Master’s Degree programme with a focus on Czech soils, Soil Evaluation and Protection. Hydropedology and the relationship between soil and water are researched and taught at the Department of Water Resources (S. Matula).

Study programmes in the Faculty of AgriSciences and Faculty of Horticulture at Mendel University in Brno ( include courses such as Pedology, Soil classification and protection, Soil quality/health, Soil remediation and rehabilitation. Lectures and pedology research focusing on the quality of soil and soil protection are guaranteed in the Department of Agrochemistry, Soil Science, Microbiology and Plant Nutrition by J. Jandák, Head of the Pedology Section. In the Department of Applied and Landscape Ecology, both teaching and research in the field of Land Consolidation are guaranteed by J. Podhrázská, and Soil Erosion Control by J. Kozlovsky Dufková.

At the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, the Faculty of Agriculture (, Department of Agroecosystems provides study programmes which include Geology and pedology, Soil classification and assessment, and Soil hygiene. The subjects are guaranteed by R. Váchalová in cooperation with J. Horáček. The research focus is on farming in adverse soil-ecology conditions, with an emphasis on change in soil environment and soil organic matter, particularly in reduced (minimum) tillage systems.

In the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague (, soil science is taught within interfaculty studies. The topic of Forestry Soil Science is explored within other subjects, e.g. Forest Ecology, or in a number of technically-oriented disciplines. Research focuses on the dynamics of humus forms, changes in soil characteristics in anthropogenically-affected areas and in soils of forest stands growing on agricultural land (V. Podrázský, S. Vacek). The stability of forest stands determined by soil character is dealt with by a team from the Department of Forest Protection and Entomology (J. Holuša) and ecological issues are studied by the Department of Forest Ecology (M. Svoboda and team).

In the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology at Mendel University in Brno (, a team from the Department of Geology and Pedology led by V. Vranová focuses its educational and research activities on edatope of forest ecosystems, forest and decorative tree nurseries and human-influenced systems. Other fields of interest for this team include soil and landscape water regime, soil biochemistry, soil degradation and restoration, soil taxonomy and soil formation, carbon balance, soil processes and development in the Holocene epoch, and environmental micromorphology. Teaching and research by the Department of Forest Ecology team includes processes in forest soils with a focus on biogeochemical nutrient cycles and water balance at the level of ecosystem, as well as ecological stability and sustainability of forest management (J. Kulhavý, L. Menšík).

Within its Environmental Protection study programme, the Faculty of Natural Science at Charles University in Prague (, provides Basics of Pedology and Soil Protection as a compulsory subject and Soil Ecology as an elective subject, both guaranteed by J. Frouz. As for Geography, L. Šefrna guarantees subjects focusing on pedogeography and biogeography with the main current research focus on paleopedology and pedoarchaeology. Soil research at the Faculty’s Institute for Environmental Studies involves research into interactions between plants, soil fauna and soil microorganisms and their significance in soil formation and ecosystem restoration (J. Frouz), as well as decontamination of soils, especially soils damaged by organic pollutants (T. Cajthaml).

In the Faculty of Science at Masaryk University in Brno ( soil science is integrated in the programmes of geology, geography, biology and chemistry, either as the subject of Pedology, or included in the subjects of Pedogeochemistry, Pedogeography, Ecotoxicology or Environmental Chemistry. The guarantors for the course are M. Ivanov and J. Hofman. Research at RECETOX (Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment) predominantly deals with the presence of chemical substances in the environment, including soil. The worksite participates in the development of environmental information systems for monitoring soil and surface water, and closely cooperates with other Czech organisations.

The Faculty of Science at Palacký University in Olomouc ( and its Department of Ecology and Environment offers the subject of pedology (guarantor B. Šarapatka) for study programmes within “Biology and the Environment” and “Earth Sciences”. Besides Bachelor´s and Master´s study programmes, pedology and soil ecology is also dealt with in doctoral studies. Research in pedology is an integral part of scientific focus of the Department and deals with the quality and degradation of soils and modelling these, as well as erosion processes affecting soil properties, soil ecology, biochemical processes and soil zoology. The guarantors for these individual compounds of research are B. Šarapatka and I. H. Tuf.

The Faculty of Science at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice ( offers Master´s and Doctoral studies in Soil Biology within Ecosystem Biology under the Department of Ecosystem Biology (H. Šantrůčková) in cooperation with the Institute of Soil Biology under the Czech Academy of Science. Students can take subjects such as Soil Ecology, Soil Chemistry and Physics, Soil Microbiology, Soil Zoology, Soil Pollution and Degradation, Molecular Methods in Ecology of Soil and Water. Emphasis is put on soil-water-plant interactions. Research focuses on nutrient transformation within forest ecosystems, peat bogs and arctic tundra and on plant-microorganism-soil interactions, using traditional methods, stable isotopes and molecular biology methods.

In the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague (, the issues of non-production functions of the landscape, and protection and rational use of soil and water are dealt with, based on the traditions of cultural and technical engineering, by the Department of Land Use and Improvement (P. Sklenička – land consolidation and M. Janeček – erosion control) and the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Modelling (M. Hanela’s team – climatic change). Research and teaching in these departments focuses mainly on solutions to soil erosion risks, soil vulnerability to drought and floods, the landscape water regime, reclamation processes, landscaping, landscape fragmentation and ecological stability of landscapes. The departments run laboratories specialising in hydropedology, erosion-sedimentology, hydraulics and hydrology.

The Faculty of Environment at J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem ( teaches pedology on its Environment Conservation bachelor´s programme and its subsequent Master´s degree course in Landscape Revitalization. The guarantor for these subjects is J. Vráblíková and her team. The Faculty carries out basic and applied research relating to the environment, its understanding and protection, interdisciplinary relations and connections. A significant feature of the Faculty is its regional focus on the North Bohemian area devastated in the past by surface mining for brown coal. In terms of pedology, the focus is mainly on soil restoration and formation of new soils, as well as protection of land resources affected by human activity.

The Faculty of Civil Engineering at CTU in Prague ( offers courses and conducts research in the field of pedology and soil conservation through its Department of Landscape Water Conservation. The basic subjects of Hydropedology and Pedology are taught, including technical application in the field of soil conservation, within its “Hydroengineering and Water Management” and “Environmental Engineering” study programmes. Research mainly focuses on surface and subsurface water management, both in laboratory conditions and in the field. The main topics include preferential flow in soils, water flow near the water table, gas phase behaviour in soil pores, transport of water isotopes and dissolved substances in the soil, the effect of precipitation on soil erosion, the impact of agricultural soil compaction, transport of erosion wash-off and pollutants bound in it, and mathematical modelling of erosion and transport processes.

In the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Brno University of Technology ( pedology-related topics are taught, to a varying extent, within the subjects of Hydropedology, Landscape Protection and Drainage, Improvement of Catchment Run-off Conditions, and Land Improvement. Lectures in these subjects and research in the field of soil and water conservation and land improvement are guaranteed by M. Dumbrovský at the Institute of Landscape Water Management.

Institutes under the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS)

The Institute of Soil Biology within the CAS Biology Centre encompasses a multidisciplinary subject of soil biology, i.e. soil zoology, microbiology, chemistry and micromorphology, and deals with basic issues of soil formation, fertility and regeneration. A priority of the institute is research into the diversity and dynamics of communities of soil organisms in various ecosystems. The worksite explores relationships between soil micro-flora and soil fauna, the role of soil organisms in the transformation of organic matter and the nutrient cycle in the soil, as well as GHG emissions. The laboratory of nanobiotechnology develops biomagnetic methods and the laboratory of organic matter synthesizes structural and functional aspects of soil-forming processes. Guarantors for individual topics are listed at .

The Institute of Microbiology at the CAS ( is active in a vast range of scientific disciplines including soil microbiology – research focuses on the role of soil microorganisms in the decomposition of organic matter in the soil and litter fall, in terms of both bacteria and saprotrophic and mycorrhizal fungi. Another subject of study is the ability of soil microorganisms to break down extraneous substances present in soil or waste water, including pesticides, colourants or newly appearing pollutants. Soil microorganisms are also studied for their potential use as sources of biologically active substances (e.g. antibiotics) or enzymes for industrial use. The institute cooperates with a number of Czech and foreign research organisations and universities.

Soil science is part of the research in the Institute of Geology at the CAS ( The flagship research is carried out in the Department of Environmental Geology and Geochemistry, with the main focus on mutual interaction between fundamental components of the environment (bedrock, soil cover, surface water, groundwater, sediments, biota, and atmosphere). One of the issues dealt with by T. Navrátil, D. Rohovec and their team is contamination of soil by toxic mercury and its speciation. A. Žigová focuses on soil-forming processes, development of soils on various substrates, mineralogy and soil classification.

Sector-specific Research Institutes

The Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation ( focuses on research in the field of pedology, soil hydrology and land improvement, e.g. soil degradation processes and potential corrective measures. Great attention is paid to water and wind erosion, loss of organic matter, compaction and contamination of soil, as well as issues of water contained in soil, including the identification of spot sources and widespread sources of contamination. The institute staff also deal with practical measures such as identification of ground drainage systems and their possible revitalisation, the use and modernisation of irrigation systems, and development of methods for land consolidation. The institute’s Geoportal SOWAC GIS ( offers free practical applications (in Czech) which help to optimize land management. Accredited central laboratories within the institute ensure physical, chemical and microbiological analysis of soil, water, and possibly other materials.

The Crop Research Institute, v. v. i., Prague – Ruzyně ( is involved, on a long-term basis, in monitoring and research into a wide range of soil properties, especially in terms of the main function of soil – its fertility. The institute’s activities involve monitoring and examining physical, chemical and biological properties of soil in both laboratory and natural conditions. Continuous and long-term attention is paid not only to observation and research into traditional soil parameters (nutrient content, pH, organic matter), but also operatively to current aspects of soil protection (erosion, compaction, contamination). These are the focus of long-term experiments and numerous projects relating to soil issues.

The Agricultural Research Institute Kroměříž, Ltd ( focuses on practical issues of health and quality of soil. The institute carries out research into soil typology and physical, chemical and biological properties of soil, at the request of the agricultural public. Based on the results, soil quality faults are then identified and practical remedies are proposed by the researchers. The influence of various farming systems on soil properties has been studied in long-term experiments since 1992. J. Bílovský is Guarantor of the research, with E. Pokorný as Specialist Consultant.

The Research Institute for Fodder Crops, Ltd. and Agricultural Research, Ltd. in Troubsko ( devotes the activities of its Agrotechnical Department to tillage, soil protection and erosion-control systems of farm management, and quality of soil environment, including the evaluation of physical and chemical soil properties. B. Badalíková has acted as Guarantor for the branch of pedology within the institute since 1995. The institute also provides consultancy for farmers.

Agrovýzkum Rapotín (Agroresearch Rapotín), Ltd (, focuses on the quantification of mutual relationships between soil parameters and aerial biomass, within one of its main priorities. In terms of pedology-related issues, the accredited testing laboratory of the institute carries out analysis of physical (basic hydrolimits), nutritional (biomobile forms of macro- and micro-nutrients), and hygienic (biomobile forms of potentially hazardous elements) conditions of soil and the institute uses the results in its advisory service for farmers. The Guarantor for experimental activities is A. Veselý and K. Fiala for consultancy.

The Forestry and Game Management Research Institute, v. v. i. in Jíloviště – Strnady ( currently focuses on forestry pedology, mainly in terms of nutrition of woody species, the use of lime and fertilizers. Within the ICP Forests international programme, the institute deals with the impact of hazardous substances on forest soils. Guarantors: V. Šrámek, R. Novotný and B. Lomský. Further activities of the institute involve research into soil and humus conditions in formerly polluted areas, conversion of agricultural land to forest, issues of soil properties in terms of prosperous planting, and monitoring the effect of implemented drainage measures on waterlogged areas.

Specialist Sector-specific Institutions

Pedology-related activities of the Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture ( covers four areas: 1) Agrochemical testing of soils with a focus on the content of available nutrients and pH value (M. Smatanová); 2) Basal monitoring of soils - i.e. dynamics of change in selected soil parameters (Š. Poláková); 3) long-term field trials on the relationship between soil properties and the intensity of fertilising, yield, soil nutrient content and nutrient intake by plants (M. Smatanová); and 4) forest management, gaining information on forest soil chemistry mineral nutrients necessary for woody species and evaluating the effect of applying lime in air-polluted areas (P. Fiala)

The State Land Office (Czech abbreviation SPÚ;, as a body within State Administration, is mainly responsible, in terms of soil and its protection, for the process of land consolidation and improvement (LCI), updates to the BPEJ system (a unique Czech independent system of soil evaluation), or monitoring agricultural land erosion. The LCI process is carried out at regional branches and includes proposing and implementation of a range of soil-protection measures. Updating the BPEJ, as an important basis (not only) for the LCI process, is the responsibility of the SPÚ Soil Survey Department. In cooperation with the Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation, the SPÚ runs a web portal for monitoring agricultural land erosion, where individual cases of erosion are recorded by authorised SPÚ staff (

In the Forest Management Institute in Brandýs nad Labem (Czech abbreviation ÚHÚL;, forest pedology is dealt with within forest typology. Classified units in the Forest-typology system are partially characterised according to the Czech Soil Taxonomy System (by ÚHÚL experts J. Macků and J. Vokoun as co-authors). Since the 1950s the institute has been operating a soil laboratory (with a database of ca 6000 samples). Forest soils are currently monitored on ca 400 plots per year (National Forest Survey) and the forest-typology map is being revised for forest management planning (LHP/O). Results are applied in a number of projects relating to acidification and hydric properties of forest soils.

The research priorities of the Czech Geological Survey relate, besides geology, to pedology and geofactors of the environment in general. J. Hruška studies the phenomena and impact of climatic change, acidic rain and nitrogen on forest ecosystems, as well as the biochemical cycle of ecologically significant elements. A Unified Geo-Information System of ČGS involves the creation of maps of soils and maps of soil-forming substrates, a project launched by M. Tomášek and carried on by J. Janderková. Another important activity is research into geohazards, especially a continually updated survey and mapping of existing and newly appearing areas of slope-instability, as well as the creation of an interactive map of landslide susceptibility.

Specialist and scientific societies

Since its foundation in 1994, the Czech Society of Soil Science, z. s. (CSSS) has brought together about 120 specialists from the fields of research, scientific institutions, and business. The CSSS has a good background to work from: Czech pedology results attained considerable renown as early as the turn of the 20th century even on an international scale. As a member of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies (ECSSS), the CSSS strives to continue this success. The CSSS’s closest cooperation is with Societas pedologica Slovaca, as Czech and Slovak pedology has developed in unison over the last 100 years. The CSSS is also a member of the Council of Scientific Societies of the Czech Republic, and besides lecturing and organising specialist events, it also coordinates the cooperation of individual organisations in research and specialist activities. The society represents its members and specialist pedology-oriented worksites at a national and international level and acts as an information body in the legislation-forming process. More info at homepage:

The Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Czech abbreviation CAZV; is a Czech specialist and public institution, a scientific advisory body to the Minister of Agriculture, incorporating experts from the fields of research, development, education and business. The CAZV represents the scientific and academic public, both within CZ and abroad. Its fundamental mission is to improve the scientific level of research and education in the field of soil science, ensure its continuous development, and effectively popularize scientific findings. The CAZV carries out its activities through its departments, Presidium, Council, Secretary and secretariat. One of the 11 departments within the CAZV is the Soil Science Department with 39 members. The Department is also the Publisher of the scientific magazine Soil and Water Research Journal.