Historical and Ethnological Outline of Brazilian Pedology: a Contribution.
Carlos E.G.R. Schaefer, Departamento do Solos-Universidade Federal de Višosa, Campus da Universidade, Višosa, Brazil
This work presents an outline of the historical background of the Brazilian Pedology, from its infancy, soon after the Portuguese occupation, to the early days of the 20th century, when it emerges the the separate branch of agriculture and earth sciences in Brazil. In order to achieve the broader vista on the Brazilian pedology, a considerable amount of papers, books, reports and bulletins have been consulted and dealt with, allowing a provisional review to be presented and discussed. The slow evolution of analytical observations of soils in the field is an overall feature of this science in Brazil, until the beginning of the 20th century. Some little known naturalists/scientists, like the Brazilians Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira and Father Antonil, deserve to be considered prominent, yet informal, beginners of Brazilian pre-Pedology, whilst well-known, renowned naturalists, like L. Agassiz and C.F. Hartt have added very few contributions to the understanding of pedology. On the other hand, scientists, like A. Saint-Hilaire, Martius and Richard Burton, have made interesting and detailed descriptions of some soils in Brazil, but both lack the necessary basic knowledge to explain many aspects of these soils, in terms of chemical, physical and mineralogical atributes. The ethnopedological contribution, by means of indigenous knowledge, was also considered, and several examples illutrate the vast empirical view of soils that were virtually lost by their extinction, and can never be traced back. Despite the great development of the last four decades, and the establishment and consolidation of the Brazilian System of Soil Classification, we consider that the Brazilian pedology needs a closer interplay between earth and agriculture scientists, in order to achieve a higher stand and answer the many demands it now faces.