Friedrich Albert Fallou

Friedrich Albert FallouFriedrich Albert Fallou (1794-1877) was a German lawyer and geologist. He is considered the founder of modern pedology (soil science) and was a strong advocat for acknowledging pedology as a scientitic field separate from geology.

It was while working as a lawyer with land tax assements that Fallou developed his fascination for soil and its connection to agricultural (and forestry) success.

Short facts about Friedrich Alberg Fallou

Born November 11, 1794
Zörbig, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Died September 6, 1877
Diedenmühle, Saxony, Germany
Alma mater University of Leipzig
Occupation Lawyer
Geologist

Pedologist

Known for Pedology

Life

Childhood

Friedrich Albert Fallou was born into an aristocratic French Huguenot family in Zörbig, a town in the district Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. His father was a judicial bailiff.

Fallou spent much of his childhood in Rochlitz and Grimma in Saxony, and he attended the school Fürstenschule Grimma before going off to university in Leipzig.

Young adult

As a young adult (from 1814 to 1817), Fallou studied jurisprudence at the University of Leipzig. In 1818 he commenced work as a lawyer in Colditz, Saxony.

Walheim

In 1825, Fallou was appointed town clerk of Waldheim. While working as an administrative officer at the City Court, and as a land value tax assessor, Fallou deepened his love and interest in nature – especially soil, a subject he would study as an independent scholar. While working with legal issues pertaining to land taxation, he became deeply concerned about the detoriation of soil quality in the area.

It was also during this time that he began writing geographic descriptions of Saxon regions and towns. The descriptions were published in the journal Soxonia, where Fallou used the pen name Baldwin von Eichberg.

In 1833, Fallou resigned from his job as city clerk to focus on his own law and land evaluation practice, a venture that he would keep working at until 1850. From 1850 and onward, he could finally devote himself more fully to his passion for pedalogy, mineralogy and geology.

Didenmühle

In 1856, Fallou moved to Didenmühle in Saxony, where he continued to work on his scientific projects. He died in Didenmühle in 1877.

Scienctific publications

Fallou’s passionate devotion to pedalogy – and to related subjects such as geology, mineralogy and petrographics – really took off in the early 1830s when he was still working with land value tax assessments in Saxony. One of his first areas of interest was the granulite geology found near Prachatice on the eastern rim of Böhmerwald, the low mountain range that forms the natural border between Germany and the Czech Republic.

In the early 1840s, Fallou developed an interest in trying to understand the origins of agricultural soils and forest soils. In 1845, he published “Die Gebirgsformationen zwischen Mittweida und Rochlitz, der Zschopau und beiden Mulden und ihr Einfluß auf die Vegetation. Versuch einer geognostischen-agronomischen Beschreibung “. (The mountain formations between Mittweida and Rochlitz, the Zschopau and two troughs, and their influence on vegetation. Attempt a geo-agronomic description.) Even though this was his first major publication, it was very well recieved by the scientific community and got an award from the Fürstlich Jablonowski’schen Gesellschaft i Leipzig.

Fallou’s next book, which was published in 1853, was about arable lands in Saxony and neighbooring regions, and the book shined a spotlight on the connection between soil science and successful agriculture and forestry. (Titel: Die Ackererden des Königreichs Sachsen und der angrenzenden Gegend, geognostisch untersucht und classificiert. Eine bodenkundliche Skizze.) Two years later, a second edition came out.

Fallou’s next two books (Anfangsgründe der Bodenkunde, 1857, and Pedologie oder allgemeine und besondere Bodenkunde, 1862) would be a more systematic display of his many observations from the field, and also included arguments for why pedology should be recognized as its own science and discipline. In his book from 1862, Fallou proposed a classification system for soils based in mineral properties.

Fallou continued to publish books about soild science; first one focused on Saxony and its neighboring regions (Grund und Boden des Königreichs Sachsen und seiner Umgebung in sämmtlichen Nachbarstaaten in volks-, land- und forstwirthschaftlicher Beziehung naturwissenschaftlich untersucht, 1869) and then one about soil in the North and Baltic countries of the German Empire (Die Hauptbodenarten der Nord- und Ostsee-Länder deutschen Reiches naturwissenschaftlich betrachtet. Skizze, 1875).

Fallou also wrote several articles the were published in the magazine Zeitschrift für deutsche Landwirthe (Journal for German farmers).

Works

  • Fallou, F. A. (1845), Die Gebirgsformationen zwischen Mittweida und Rochlitz, der Zschopau und beiden Mulden und ihr Einfluß auf die Vegetation. Versuch einer geognostischen-agronomischen Beschreibung [The mountain formations between Mittweida and Rochlitz, the Zschopau and two troughs, and their influence on vegetation. Attempt a geo-agronomic description]
    Leipzig: Staritz
  • Fallou, F. A. (1853), Die Ackererden des Königreichs Sachsen und der angrenzenden Gegend, geognostisch untersucht und classificiert. Eine bodenkundliche Skizze [The arable earth of the Kingdom of Saxony and the neighboring area, geology examined and classified. A soil sketch]
    Leipzig: Freiberg, 2nd edition published by Gerhard
  • Fallou, F. A. (1857), Anfangsgründe der Bodenkunde [First Principles of Soil Science]
    Dresden: G. Schönfeld´s Buchhandlung, 2nd edition published 1865
  • Fallou, F. A. (1862), Pedologie oder allgemeine und besondere Bodenkunde [Pedology or general and special soil science]
    Dresden: G. Schönfeld´s Buchhandlung
  • Fallou, F. A. (1869), Grund und Boden des Königreichs Sachsen und seiner Umgebung in sämmtlichen Nachbarstaaten in volks-, land- und forstwirthschaftlicher Beziehung naturwissenschaftlich untersucht [Land of the Kingdom of Saxony and all neighboring regions, scientifically studied in relationship to folks, lands, and forestry]

    Dresden: G. Schönfeld´s Buchhandlung

  • Fallou, F. A. (1875), Die Hauptbodenarten der Nord- und Ostsee-Länder deutschen Reiches naturwissenschaftlich betrachtet. Skizze [The main soil types of the North and Baltic countries of the German Empire scientifically considered. Sketch]

    Dresden: G. Schönfeld´s Buchhandlung