V. V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute
About the Institute
of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium
On awarding V.V.Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute
the order of Labor Red Banner
For services to the country in the area of agricultural science development V.V.Dokuchaev Soil
Science Institute is awarded with the order of Labor Red Banner.
BRIEF HISTORICAL INFORMATION
RESEARCH RESULTS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE INSTITUTE
V.V.Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute has been established on April 2, 1927 as an independent
scientific institution of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Its predecessor was the Soil Science
Commission, created in St.-Petersburg in 1888 according to V.V.Dokuchaev's initiative as a part of the
Free Economic Society and had been reorganized in 1913 into the Dokuchaev Soil Science Committee. In
1918, under F.Yu.Levinson-Lessing's leadership, the Soil Science Department of the Commission for
Study of Natural Production Forces (CSNPF) has been established on the base of the Committee, and
then in 1925 the Soil Science Institute has been created at CSNPF. On April 1927 the General Assembly
of the USSR Academy of Sciences, basing on F.Yu.Levinson-Lessing's and V.I.Vernadsky's memo, has
made a decision on transferring CSNPF's Soil Science Institute into the USSR Academy of Sciences
system i.e. on creation of the independent V.V.Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute under direct guidance
of the USSR Academy of Sciences Presidium. Pedology has been considered as a fundamental academic
The V.V.Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute was more than 30 years (up to 1961) within the
USSR Academy of Sciences system as a leading pedology institution. From 1961 it is one of the main
institutes in the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VASKhNIL) and then in the Russian
Academy of Agricultural Sciences (RAAS).
Academician K.D.Glinka was the first director of the Institute. Then the directors were
academicians F.Yu.Levinson-Lessing (1927-1929), K.K.Hedroitz (1929-1930), B.A.Keller (1931-1932),
B.B.Polynov (1932-1937), L.I.Prasolov (1937-1949), I.V.Tyurin (1949-1962), VASKhNIL corresponding
member S.N. Ryzhov (1962-1964), VASKhNIL academician V.V.Egorov (1964-1981), RAAS academician
L.L.Shishov (1981-2000). From 2001 the Institute is being headed by academician of the International
Academy for Informatization, Professor, Renowned Scientist of the RF V.A.Rojkov.
Up to 1934 the Institute was located in Leningrad, and then it has been moved to Moscow. Up
to 1931 the Institute consisted of the department for soil mapping and geography, headed by
L.I.Prasolov, several zone groups under leadership of such famous soil scientists as B.B.Polynov,
S.S.Neustruev, N.I.Prokhorov, A.M.Pankov, M.I.Rojanets, and the soil science museum.
The Institute's experimental and laboratory base primarily consisted of three laboratories,
namely: the soil chemical laboratory (K.K.Hedroitz), the laboratory of soil mineralogy
(P.A.Zemyatchensky), and the laboratory of mass analysis (N.I.Sokolov). The period of 1931-1933 was
the time for creation of several problematic and methodological laboratories, namely: the laboratory of
soil fertility (A.T.Kirsanov), the laboratory of saline soils (B.B.Polynov), the laboratory of biochemistry
(I.V.Tyurin), the laboratory of physics (A.M.Pankov, then A.F.Lebedev, N.A.Kachinsky), the laboratory
of physics and chemistry (I.N.Antipov-Karataev), the laboratory of soil erosion (A.M.Pankov), the
office of microbiology (N.N.Sushkina). In 1935-1937 the following laboratories have been organized,
namely: the laboratory of soil chemistry (A.A.Rode), the X-ray laboratory (L.D.Sedletsky) and the
spectral laboratory (D.N.Ivanov).
The period before the second world war in the Institute activities was characterized by
development of researches on the geography and genesis of soils, effective utilization of the country's
land resources, methods for study of soils, amelioration and erosion processes.
Huge complex expedition works have been started. Soil science investigations were being
carried out in Zavolzhie and Kulunda in connection with irrigation projects; in Kazakhstan and Central
Asia due to amelioration construction and expansion of cotton production. Soil cover was being
examined in areas of industrial new buildings and future hydroconstruction, namely: Kuznetz coalfield in
Siberia, valley of the river Volkhov for Volkhovstroi, the basin of the upper part of the river Volga due to
construction of Volga dam, soils of Lake Sevan basin in connection with utilization of the lake water for
irrigation and energy purposes. Investigations of soils in Far East and Kamchatka were being carried
out. Works on the classification of soils were continued, and as a result of those researches new
classification schemes by B.B.Polynov (1933), I.P.Gerasimov, A.A.Zavalishin, E.N.Ivanova (1935) have
Under guidance of L.I.Prasolov the general soil maps of the country, the World soil map and
maps of several foreign countries (according to literature materials) have been developed, the
registration of land resources has been carried out for the first time. Academician L.I.Prasolov was the
first soil scientist who was honored the title of the State Prize laureate in 1941 for the work on soil
mapping and registration of the USSR's land resources.
Works of K.D.Glinka, L.I.Prasolov, S.S.Neustruev have allowed I.P.Gerasimov to identify soil-
climate faescia of the USSR and neighboring countries. Later on he has developed the idea on soil-
bioclimatic zones of the World and soil geography in every zone.
Together with soil-geographic and mapping investigations there was studied the genesis of the
following soils, namely: podzolic soils (A.A.Rode), forest-steppe soils (I.V.Tyurin, A.A.Zavalishin),
solonetzs and solonchaks (E.N.Ivanova, V.A.Kovda), kashtanozems (I.N.Antipov-Karataev), irrigated
grey soils (V.A.Kovda, A.N.Rozanov), etc. The monographs "Podzol forming process", "Solonetzs and
solonchaks", and "Soils of the USSR" became a noticeable contributions to genetic pedology.
The experimental pedology was being under intensive development. Studying soil colloids
after K.K.Hedroitz's brilliant works was continued successfully under guidance of I.N.Antipov-Karataev:
the nature of soil acidity (V.A.Chernov), exchange capacity of soils (N.I.Gorbunov), soil
solutions (P.A.Kryukov, N.A.Komarova) were researched.
There were investigated the soil structure, agrophysical properties and regimes of soils for
ameliorational and agrotechnological purposes (A.F.Lebedev, N.A.Kachinsky, N.I.Savvinov,
S.I.Dolgov), the organic substance, its role in soil formation and fertility, there were developed methods
for determination of soil humus composition (I.V.Tyurin, M.M.Konovalova).
The hydrological direction in pedology was being developed (A.A.Rode), contemporary
processes of soil formation (soil regimes, firstly, water regime) in podzolic and black soils
(E.A.Afanasieva) were being researched.
Under leadership of D.N.Pryanishnikov soil fertility and soil conditions of plant nutrition
(A.T.Kirsanov) were being studied.
During the Great Patriotic war a part of the Institute has been evacuated to Tashkent. Due to
relocation of agriculture to eastern areas of the country, the Institute was carrying out large works for
identification of land resources in Ural and Kazakhstan for control of irrigated soils against salinization
and their improvement, studying water regimes of boharic grey soils. A group of experts, who stayed in
Moscow, worked in the sphere of the defense (study of traficability, creation of temporary aerodromes,
construction of waterproof screens for water-storage reservoirs, etc.). In 1943 the Institute has returned
The aims of economy restoration and development determined the main content of the
Institute's investigations after the war. In connection with building of huge hydroelectric stations (on
the rivers Volga, Don, Dnepr, Amu-Daria, etc.) the Institute has actively participated in development of
irrigation systems. The lands suitable for tea production have been identified in Krasnodar region,
Azerbaijan and Zakarpatie (Yu.A.Liverovsky). Complex researches of soils in Kaliningrad region as well
as in areas of field-protective forestation (I.N.Antipov-Karataev, A.F.Bolshakov, A.A.Erokhina,
E.N.Ivanova, L.A.Letkov, M.N.Polskikh, A.A.Rode, V.M.Fridland) have been carried out. The great
attention was paid to evaluation of virgin lands in eastern areas of the country and their identification
for agricultural use.
The Institute has taken active part in special investigations for substantiation of amelioration
projects in Barabinsk, Kura-Araksinsk and Zeisko-Bureinsk lowlands, in Central Asia, Prikaspian
lowland. These researches, having promoted solution of important practical problems, were a serious
contribution to the genetic and amelioration pedology.
During the reclamation of saline soils in Central Asia the drainage providing the stable soil
desalinization was of great importance. This idea has been substantiated in the monograph by
V.A.Kovda entitled "Origin and regime of saline soils" that has been awarded with the State prize.
Principles of amelioration regionalization, calculation of critical salt regime for irrigated soils have been
developed, a model for calculation of washing standards (V.A.Kovda, V.V.Egorov, A.N.Rozanov,
I.S.Rabochev, N.G.Minashina, A.T.Morozov et al.) has been suggested. The salt regime of soils was
being studied for various irrigation systems, the problems of improvement of irrigated soils fertility,
effective utilization of water-land resources under conditions of fresh water limitation, protection of river
waters against pollution were being solved, the methods for mapping of irrigated and non-irrigated soils
salinization were being developed (F.I.Kozlovsky, E.A.Kornblyum, B.A.Zimovetz, E.I.Pankova). At the
present time there are being developed the models of salinization due to anthropogenic factors, extra
moisturizing, solonetzation (N.B.Khitrov, I.N.Lyubimova).
For the aims of studying soils, further agricultural development and land utilization
improvement the soil researches have been carried out, monographs have been published, soils maps
have been made for the following areas, namely: the grey soil zone of Central Asia (A.N.Rozanov), Altai
(B.F.Petrov), the USSR desert zone (E.V.Lobova), the Orenburg region (A.A.Erokhina), Zakarpatie
(E.N.Rudneva), the south part of West Siberia (K.A.Ufimtseva), Tuva (V.A.Nosin), Zabaikalie
(N.A.Nogina), Kamchatka (I.A.Sokolov), Central and North-East Siberia (I.A.Sokolov, E.M.Naumov).
I.A.Sokolov has been awarded the V.V.Dokuchaev Gold medal for series of works on the genesis and
geography of these far-located regions.
Four volumes of the monograph entitled "Podzolic soils of the European part of the USSR"
and four books "The USSR Chernozems" have been published. A large team of highly qualified experts
under guidance of N.A.Nogina and I.I.Lebedeva took part in their writing.
The Soil Science Institute jointly with soil scientists from other institutions worked preparing a
multi-sheet soil map of the country (the work has been carried out under leadership of L.I.Prasolov,
I.P.Gerasimov, E.I.Ivanova, V.M.Fridland, L.L.Shishov). The map has served as a base for one of the first
all-country registration of soil resources, regionalization of the soil cover, fulfillment of ameliorative
In 1956 the USSR general Soil map has been composed (N.N.Rozov, E.V.Lobova) and
published. It has been awarded with the Gold medal at the World exhibition in Brussels in 1958.
The Institute was one of the first soil science institutions that began to use aerial methods for
pedology. Corresponding recommendations and manuals on making soil maps of various scales by
using aerial and, later, space methods (V.L.Andronnikov, M.S.Simakova) have been published.
The problem of soil classification takes an important part of the Institute's work. In 1967 the
ecological and genetic classification of soils has been published in five issues (editors E.N.Ivanova,
N.N.Rozov), that has been approved by the USSR Ministry of Agriculture as an official manual for
fulfilling large-scale soil observations of farms. After completion it has been published in 1977 as
"Classification and diagnostics of soils in the USSR".
In 1997 a new completed and supplemented variant of the classification including
anthropogeneously transformed soils (compiled by L.L.Shishov, V.D.Tonkonogov, I.I.Lebedeva) has
been published. It has been translated into English and published in 2001 under edition of Professor
Huge materials, collected in the sphere of the country's soils geography and their properties,
allowed making soil and geographic regionalization of all territory in the country and publishing several
monographs jointly with the USSR Academy of Sciences Council for Determination of Production
Forces, later the State Institute for Land Resources (N.N.Rozov, I.I.Karmanov, D.S.Bulgakov et al.).
I.I.Karmanov has been awarded with the V.R.Williams's prize for the monograph entitled "Fertility of the
The great attention was permanently paid to the identification of nature of erosion processes
and to the countermeasures against them as well as to the development of the erosion-affected soil
classification. Measures of soil protection against water and wind erosion have been developed for
different natural zones of the country. The USSR Soil erosion map of the scale 1:2500000 has been
composed, the map of the European part has been published (under general edition of A.N.Kashtanov
and L.L.Shishov), the map of the Asian part is being prepared for publication.
Under guidance of D.N.Pryanishnikov and A.V.Sokolov the physiological and agrochemical
aspects of plant nutrition and the role of separate elements and soil properties in yield formation were
studied. Original data on processes of plant nutrition under conditions of soil and soil cover
heterogeneity have been obtained (A.V.Sokolov, D.V.Fedorovsky, Z.A.Prokhorova, A.S.Frid).
A significant contribution has been made into development of the theories of plant nitrogen
nutrition and increasing the application coefficient of nitrogen fertilizers, physics and chemistry of
phosphorus, optimization of plant potash nutrition (E.A.Andreeva, M.A.Bobritskaya, I.E.Koroleva,
B.N.Makarov, E.T.Muzychkin, D.L.Askinazi, K.E.Ginzburg, O.P.Medvedeva et al.). Diagnostic methods
of crop mineral nutrition (V.V.Tserling, M.A.Gorshkova) as well as soil fertility, based on the balance of
plant nutrition elements (I.I.Elnikov) have been developed and implemented.
The Institute has made a lot in the area of agrochemical characteristics of soils of different
regions, as well as rivers flood plains (L.I.Korableva, L.D.Slutskaya, T.N.Avdeeva).
Experimental departments and laboratories of the Institute are researching chemical,
mineralogical, granulometric compositions, physical and chemical properties of soils, nature of the
organic substance, circulation and balance of substances in arable farming, soil microbiological
characteristics. The stationary study of soil regimes gets the broad development.
Researches of the soil organic substance, started in 1930 are connected with I.V.Tyurin. Up to
the present time the content and nature of humus substances in different types of soils has been
studied; the character of organic substance accumulation and decomposition in virgin and cultivated
soils of different natural zones has been identified; the mechanism of humus substances relationship
with the mineral part has been found; the research methods for nature of humus substances and their
composition in various soils have been developed (I.V.Tyurin, M.M.Konovalova, N.N.Sushkina,
V.V.Ponomareva, N.P.Belchikova et al.). For these works in the area of the organic substance study
M.M.Kononova has been awarded with the USSR State prize.
Theoretical and methodological problems of the humus balance and transformation under the
agricultural utilization and intensive cultivation of soils have been developed. There have been given
recommendations for identification of the humus content and optimal quality level for main types of
agrosoils in order to obtain high and stable yields of crops (K.V.Diakonova, N.A.Titova, B.M.Kogut et
The ion-exchange reactions and the nature of soil acidity, the energy of aluminum and
hydrogen ions sorption in soils have been studied. For investigations of soil acidity V.A.Chernov has
been awarded with the State prize. There have been studied the processes of ion dissociation in soils
and clays (N.A.Komarova, N.V.Knyazeva), the behavior of long living radionuclides in different soils
(Yu.A.Polyakov, L.N.Kalishina, L.F.Nazarova, V.G.Grakovsky) as well as the ion exchange in various
soils (Yu.A.Polyakov, L.V.Ryzhova), the sorption of phosphate-ions in sod-podzolic soils, the content
and properties of organic and mineral interaction products in sod-podzolic and black soils
(M.Sh.Shaimykhamedov, L.S.Travnikova). The theory of soil iron oxidogenesis has been developed and
its performance in soils of humid landscapes has been characterized (Yu.N.Vodyanitsky).
Chemical methods for identification of microelements in soils have been developed, their total
content and content of their mobile forms in main types of soils, predictability of exchange and their
fixation by the soil have been identified (V.A.Chernov, I.G.Vazhenin, V.A.Bolshakov, K.V.Verigina,
E.G.Zhuravleva, L.P.Orlova). The new methods for identification of micro- and macroelements in soils
have been developed, improved and implemented: spectral, polargraphic, X-ray-fluorescent methods
and other (D.N.Ivanov, V.A.Bolshakov, L.A.Lerner, Z.N.Kakhnovich, S.E.Sorokin). Predictability of soil
pollution with heavy metals are being studied (V.A.Bolshakov, T.I.Borisochkina).
Significant results have been obtained in the study of the mineralogical composition of the thin
dispersion part of the soil. Peculiarities of the silt mineralogical composition for main types of soils have
been found, the determining role of soil-forming minerals in the soil formation has been identified
(N.I.Gorbunov, B.P.Gradusov). The mineralogical composition, the genesis of silt minerals for main
fractions of black, sod-podzolic, podzolic soils and their agroanalogues has been characterized. The
transformations of mineralogical composition under the agrogene influences have been identified
The Soil Science Institute is a pioneer in micromorphological researches of soils (B.B.Polynov,
I.I.Feofarova, E.I.Parfenova, E.A.Yarilova). Several groundworks have been acclaimed as inventions
(T.V.Tursina). A method of a quantitative microphotometric analysis for pore space of soils has been
suggested (E.B.Skvortsova), micromorphological peculiarities of saline soils are being studied
Researches of many years in the area of the soil heat regime have been carried out, a map of the
USSR soil temperature has been composed, quantitative thermal characteristics of soils in zone-
provincial aspect have been obtained, a classification of soil temperature regime, included in several
manuals for pedology has been developed (V.N.Dimo, P.I.Tikhonravova). Criteria for evaluation of sod-
podzolic soils cultivation according to the organic substance content, the humus horizon thickness and
the structure of tillage and undertillage layers have been clarified (I.V.Kuznetsova). The compacting
influence of agricultural machinery on soil is being studied and the measures for its decompaction are
being developed (A.G.Bondarev, V.F.Utkaeva).
The methodical works for studying physical properties of soils have been reflected in the
manual entitled "Agrophysical research methods". A great result of the Institute's coordinating work in
the area of studying physical and mechanical properties of soils is a 5-volume monograph entitled
"Agrophysical characteristics of the USSR soils".
During many years the complex researches of soil processes have been carried out, first of all,
the water regime and the moisture balance in the virgin and cultivated typical chernozems of the Kursk
forest-steppe (A.F.Bolshakov, E.A.Afanasieva, T.P.Kokovina), in the meadow-forest soils of Zabaikalie,
in the ordinary and meadow chernozems of Kamennaya steppe (T.Ya.Kissis), in the soils of central taiga
sub-zone in West Siberia (N.M.Fedorova), in the soils of dry steppe in Northern Prikaspy (A.A.Rode,
G.P.Maximyuk, G.S.Bazykina et al.).
Recommendations for optimizing the water and temperature regimes of ameliorated peat soils
have been developed (I.N.Skrynnikova), the microelementary composition of peat soils has been
studied, the peat deposits of different lythologo-geomorphological regions have been characterized
The materials of long-term stationary researches of soil regimes became the base for the
development of theoretical problems of hydrology and for understanding the types of soil water regime,
the hydrological horizons and the hydrological profile of the soil. The materials on water regime of soil,
properties of the soil moisture have been generalized by A.A.Rode in the monograph entitled "Soil
moisture" (1952) awarded with the V.V.Dokuchaev Gold medal, and the monograph entitled
"Backgrounds of theory on soil moisture", which A.A.Rode had been awarded with the USSR State
prize for. The book entitled "Principles of organization and methods for stationary researches of soils"
has been published. Studying the water regime and the water balance of soils, modeling the moisture
transportation within the system soil - plant - atmosphere, regulating the moisture supply of plant is
going on (N.A.Muromtsev et al.).
In 1967 in accordance with the initiative of V.A.Rojkov and under his leadership the broad
implementation of investigation of mathematical methods in the soil science and the Institute
computerization activity has been started. There have been created automated information and search
systems that are the modern means of soil data organization and analysis. Geoinformation systems (GIS)
are being developed in order to solve different problems including mapping.
The computation facilities of the Institute include the required hardware and licensed software
for the following works: composing maps of various destination and scale by using space methods and
computer technologies, carrying out complex soil and ecological researches aimed to develop more
efficient arable systems, developing GIS applications and GIS software, creating GIS-based expert
systems and models (evaluation of land suitability for agricultural purposes, different crops, etc.).
The Institute carried and is carrying out a lot of work on coordination of soil and agrochemical
researches in the country, it is realizing international scientific relations, it coordinated scientific
investigations according to the plan of scientific and technological cooperation with the countries -
CMEA (Comecon) members in the area of agriculture. The Institute carried out researches on bilateral
base with the USA, France, German Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Libya, etc., it provided scientific
assistance to soil scientists of Cuba, Laos, Syria, etc.
The Institute participated in all International congresses (except the IV-th one) of soil
scientists. In 1974 the Institute was the organizer of X International congress of soil scientists and held
post-congress excursions round the country territory.
The Institute is taking active part in scientific and organizational work of Soil Scientists Society
attached to Russian Academy of Sciences.
In 1977 for the success achieved and due to the 50-year Jubilee the Soil Science Institute was
awarded with the order of Labor Red Banner.
During the years of its existence the Soil Science Institute, being a leading scientific institution,
prepared a large number of highly qualified experts - doctors of sciences and Ph.D. (190 doctors of
sciences, 350 Ph.D. for 15 republics of the USSR: 123 doctors of sciences and 310 Ph.D. for RSFSR, 15
doctors of sciences and 9 Ph.D. for Azerbaijan, 12 doctors of sciences and 4 Ph.D. for Ukraine, 14
doctors of sciences and 1 Ph.D. for Uzbekistan, etc. Scientists of 28 nationalities have defended their
theses in the Institute.
Two RAAS academicians, one RAAS corresponding member, five academicians and one
corresponding member of specialized academies, 34 doctors of sciences, 57 Ph.D. are working in the
Institute. The Institute's structure includes 18 divisions (nine departments, nine laboratories), the
central soil science museum in St.-Petersburg, and six stations.
At the present time there are 23 postgraduate students in the Institute. There is a specialized
Scientific Council authorized to consider Ph.D. and Doctor of Science theses for the following
specializations: 03.00.27 - soil science; 06.01.02 - amelioration, recultivation and protection of soils;
06.01.03 - agropedology, agrophysics.
Nine scientists of the Institute have been awarded with the V.V.Dokuchaev Gold medal; twelve
scientists have been awarded with the V.V.Dokuchaev prize.
In the end of the XX-th century the scientists of the Institute have carried out researches in
accordance with international projects, contracts with ministries and agencies of our country (the
Ministry of Agriculture, the State Land Committee, the Ministry for Science and Technology, the
Ecology Committee, etc.). Every year the Institute's scientists were obtaining grants from the RFFI, the
GTC Integration, the International Institute of Applied System Analysis (IIASA, Austria), the scientific
center for soil researches (ISRIC, the Netherlands), the European Commission and scientific unions.
Presently the V.V.Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute is in the stage of its maturity and it is ready
to solve difficult problems of pedology, ecology, geography, etc. that are important for Russia.
The Institute's experimental base includes several experimental stations, located in different
soil and climatic zones of the country, namely:
- Zelenograd station (Moscow region)
- Ozer station (Moscow region)
- Ivankovo station (Tula region)
- Petrinsk station (Kursk region)
- Kislovsk station (Volgograd region)
- Armavir station (Krasnodar region)