The 2008 Philippe Duchaufour Medal is awarded to Alain Ruellan for his internationally recognised research in the field of soil systems, characterised by an innovative and holistic approach, combining soil morphology, genesis, classification and application with environmental knowledge and for his effort to promote soil science internationally, especially for the profit of developing countries and the poor.
One of the great soil scientists of the last 50 years, Prof. Ruellan had the virtue of sharing his extremely deep understanding of soils, in such areas as:
- Soil systems: morphology, genesis, classification and cartography of Mediterranean and tropical soils and its evolution during the Quaternary.
- Relationships between pedological systems and agrarian systems.
- Soil education.
This he did in an energetic, enthusiastic and novel way, especially for the profit of developing countries and the poor.
His classic work on lime crust morphology (petrocalcic horizon) and pedosequences in North Africa has become a land mark in Pedology.
His organisational and academic skills enabled him to successfully act as Director of the Soil Science ENSA-INRA Laboratory of Rennes (France), Director General of ORSTOM, Director of CNEARC, Director of the Environment Program of CNRS. He was teaching and involved in research in France, Morocco, Algeria, Brazil, etc. Although officially retired since 1999, he is as Emeritus Professor continuing teaching and international cooperation activities.
His many years of active service culminated in him becoming first Chair of Commission V of ISSS, President of IUSS and also President of the 16th World Congress of Soil Science (Montpellier, 1998). Since 2002 he is Honorary Member of IUSS.
His scientific production is very important with 600 titles of publications, reports and notes.
Our aim is to pay homage to another outstanding French soil scientist (as Duchaufour) who has been able to spread the comprehensive and positive message of Soil Science to Society.