Soil scientists study the chemistry, biology and physics of soils in order to understand how we can improve farming and forestry yields, and manage environmental outcomes such as erosion, greenhouse gas emissions and water quality.
Increasing numbers of high intensity farms means that soil scientists are becoming even more important. We need to understand how to manage the impact of fertilisers and irrigation on soils and reduce the leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into streams and rivers.
Understanding how soils behave under changing conditions, for example in terms of releasing methane gas, will help inform strategies to reduce the effects of climate change.
As in most research areas, to be a soil scientist you will generally need to complete a PhD and several postdoctoral positions in order to get a permanent position. Competition for these roles can be fierce.
Most soil scientists in New Zealand are employed by:
Soil scientists typically earn:
Key tertiary qualifications include:
Recommended school subjects:
Other job roles you may be interested in: