Discover Soils!

The Soils Collaborative at UH Mānoa

Why Study Soil?

Achieving and ensuring food and energy security while protecting natural systems and environmental quality in the face of climate change are some of the most important challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Soils are the great integrator of the environment and society. They provide a foundation for productivity and sustainability in human agroecosystems and natural terrestrial ecosystems and sits firmly at the foundation of life by providing essential ecosystem services: they provide habitats for billions of organisms with immense biodiversity; they sustain our forests, grasslands and agroecosystems providing humanity with feed, fiber, food and fuel; they mediate gas exchange and regulate global temperature and climate; they store and filter our valuable water resources; they regulate and drive essential elemental cycles; they serve as a recycling system that treat solid and liquid waste; and they serve as the foundation for our cities, towns, and transportation grid. Indeed, without soils life would not exist.

At the current time, humanity is faced with a daunting array of pressing global challenges including climate change, food and energy security, land and water resources degradation, and overall decline in biodiversity and ecosystem function. Understanding the mechanisms underlying these challenges and developing viable solutions cannot be addressed effectively without the fundamental links provided by soil processes. There is a growing recognition that soil science, as a discipline, must transcend its narrow focus on production agriculture and assume a trans-disciplinary expansion where it assumes its central role as a vital tool for solving earth system questions. Through collaborative efforts across the broad range of scientific disciplines including the physical and biological sciences, engineering, ecology, human and animal health, and the social sciences.

The Soils Collaborative at UH Mānoa

We are an inter-disciplinary cohort of new and established faculty is required to meet the challenges in ensuring food and energy security, stewardship of Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage, biodiversity and valuable land and water resources, and mitigating climate change through soil science. These faculty work together to offer a solution-oriented multi-disciplinary teaching, integrated research and extension programs that focus on core concepts, skills, and practices valuable to modern day students. The programs provide both practical and theoretical approaches to solving the immediate and daunting challenges facing us today.


We envision a transdisciplinary teaching, research, and extension program that fosters understanding of the integrative nature of soils and enthusiasm for improved management of a critical natural resource for future generations of Hawai’i and global citizens. We strive to equip students with science-based knowledge, skills, tools, and awareness pertaining to natural landscapes and agroecosystems and their sustainable management in the face of uncertainties associated with accelerated global change.


To develop an interdisciplinary curriculum with soil as a unifying matrix that starts at the undergraduate level then towards the graduate level. The curriculum should integrate well into other programs in CTAHR (focus on TPSS and NREM) with broad enough appeal to attract students across the UH campus and other campuses.

We offer a broad array of exciting classes that can help fulfill your core and elective credits.