Professor Philippe Duchaufour, honorary member of the International Union of Soil Sciences, was professor of pedology at the University of Nancy, France, and simultaneously the director (until 1975) of the CNRS Nancy "Centre de Pédologie Biologique" (presently: Laboratoire des Interactions Microorganismes-Minéraux-Matière Organique dans les Sols).
Philippe Duchaufour brought original and very fundamental contributions to soil science, strongly expressing its geoscientific aspects. After completing his studies at the National Agronomic Institute in Paris, where he obtained the degree of engineer in 1935, Philippe Duchaufour started his work as lecturer and research scientist in the National School of Forestry of Nancy. His doctoral thesis dealing with ecological research on Atlantic oak forest provided original knowledge on processes in forest soils, with a focus on the inter- relationships parent rock - vegetation - soil humus. Through the 65 years of his scientific activity he published a large number of original papers and widely known textbooks on soil science, from which numerous were translated and re-edited in English, Spanish, Russian and Japanese. The most known are: "Traité de Pédologie" (1960); "Atlas Ecologique des Sols du Monde" (1976); "Pédologie" vol. 1. "Pédogénèse et classification (1977) and vol. 2. "Constituants et propriétés des sols" (1979); and "Abrégé de Pédologie", which sixth edition was published in 2001 as "Introduction à la Science du Sol: Sol, végétation, environnement".
In 1960 Philippe Duchaufour published his famous ?Précis de Pédologie?, which popularised his system of soil classification, commonly applied in forest soils, to a wide audience. The system was thereafter developed and completed by the French scientific community, and it became the so-called French System of soil classification, which was until the development of the Référentiel Pédologique in 1992.