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Penn State Soil Characterization Lab

Soil is an integral part of ecosystem function. There are 29 million acres (11,735,884 hectares) of soil in Pennsylvania supporting: wetlands; forest lands; agricultural lands; urban lands; homes, businesses, and roads; our drinking and wastewater filtration. Without soil, these activities and functions would be much more difficult and in some cases even impossible, for soil is as precious to our lives as the very blood in our bodies.

Research in the Soil Characterization Laboratory focuses on people’s use of landscapes and the accompanying changes in soil function across the larger ecosystem the soil supports. Dr. Drohan’s research group addresses basic science questions, but also demonstrates how this new knowledge can be applied to improve land management and ecosystem stability.

Soil Characterization Lab News

NPR, State Impact covers our shale-gas reclamation research with PADCNR, Bureau of Forestry
September 11, 2018
The Mock Pad Project is a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and Penn State to demonstrate how shale-gas development, and similar forest disturbances, can be reclaimed.
SOILS 499A/B heads to Wexford, Ireland
June 11, 2018
Dr. Drohan's course on the co-evolution of soil and civilization visited Wexford, Ireland this May for its embedded course component.
SOILS 404 educates Philadelphia students about SOILS!
April 25, 2018
Dr. Patrick Drohan and Dr. Heather Gall received a grant (the Harbaugh faculty scholar award) from the College of Agriculture at Penn State to collaborate on urban green infrastructure education via their classes. As part of this grant's activities, Dr. Drohan's SOILS 404 (Urban Soils) class visited Greenfield Elementary School this past week to speak to 5th graders about soil and why it matters to people in cities.