Department of Soil Science

of Soil Science

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture
Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Pavilion 6th, 1st Floor

Scientific-teaching employeesPhoneE-mail (+
Prof. Aleksandra Bensa, PhD, Head of Department
+385 1 239 3802abensa
Prof. Stjepan Husnjak, PhD
Full Professor
+385 1 239 3934shusnjak
Prof. Mario Sraka, PhD
+385 1 239 3886msraka
Assoc. Prof. Kristina Krklec, PhD
Associate Professor
+385 1 239 4028kkrklec
Assoc. Prof. Vedran Rubinić, PhD
Associate Professor
+385 1 239 4028vrubinic
Asst. Prof. Danijela Jungić, PhD
Assistant Professor
+385 1 239 4049djungic
Ivan Magdić, PhD
Postdoctoral Student
+385 1 239 3962imagdic
Katarina Matan, MSc. agr.
+385 1 239 3803kmatan
Mirna Švob, MSc. geol.
+385 1 239 3803msvob
Expert-technical employeesPhoneE-mail (+
Nikolina Jurković Balog, MSc. agr.
Expert Associate SZVO
+385 1 239 3958njbalog

Teaching activities

In addition to lectures, teaching activities of the Department include field, classroom and laboratory exercises. These are organized through various courses at Bs and Ms study programmes. Since 2015 individual modules are as well taught in English. Members of the Department also teach at other faculties of the University of Zagreb (Faculty of Science; Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering) and at the University of Zadar. Current and former Department members have published several university textbooks (in Croatian), such as: Ameliorative pedology (Racz, Z., 1981); Genesis, development and systematics of soil (Škorić, A., 1991); Management of drainage and irrigation systems (Vidaček, Ž., 1998); and Soil systematics (Husnjak, S., 2014).

Scientific and research activities

Scientific and professional activities of the Department members traditionally refer to determination of morphological, physical and chemical characteristics of the soil; solving problems of ameliorative pedology and hydropedology; studies of soil genesis; soil classification, evaluation and cartography; and soil preservation. These areas of interest included, for example, research on the impact of agriculture on soil/water pollution and soil degradation by acidification and dehumification; determination of environmentally-friendly vegetable and olive growing technology in karst areas; creation of the General Soil Map of Croatia at scale 1: 50.000; correlation of the Croatian soil classification system with the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB), etc. More recently, interdisciplinarity of research has been intensified through collaborations with colleagues from geological, mineralogical and sedimentological fields. Accordingly, the activities of the Department extend to research of paleosoils and sedimentary rocks (loess, fluvial deposits, limestones…), karst environments and paleo-environmental studies (climate, relief).

Experiment stations and laboratories

Laboratory of the Department of Soil Science - analyses of physical and basic chemical soil properties


The Department was founded as the Department of Soil Science, Petrography and Mineralogy in 1910 as part ofthe Forestry Academy of the University of Zagreb. Head of the Department at that time, Franjo Šandor, was a world-renowned scientist and one of the founders of soil science research in Croatia.  By founding of the Faculty of Economics and Forestry in 1919, the Department of Soil Science became one of its units. The Department head at that time, Franjo Šandor (who was also the dean of the Faculty for a while), was first replaced by Adolf Seiwerth, and then by Mihovil Gračanin (for short periods of time, Jelena Verlić and Viktor Neugebauer were also heads of the Department), who also served as the dean of the Faculty. Professor M. Gračanin was a world-class scientist who is considered to be the most important Croatian pedologist. The name of the Department was later changed several times - in 1921 it was renamed to Soil Science Department, in 1929 to Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, and in 1946 to Department of Pedology. In 1960, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry split into the Faculty of Agriculture and the Faculty of Forestry, with the Department of Pedology being common for both faculties. The head of the Department during this period was Arso Škorić (he was also the Faculty of Agriculture dean from 1968-1970). During 1973, pedology in forestry became an independent discipline at the Faculty of Forestry, and the Department of Pedology became an independent unit at the Faculty of Agriculture. In 1978, several related agricultural scientific institutes in Zagreb were integrated with the Faculty of Agriculture, whereby the Faculty was renamed the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. For most of the following period, the head of the Department was Zoltan Racz (for a time, also the dean of the Faculty). The Faculty consisted of eight institutes, one of which was the Institute of Agroecology, and which included the Department of Pedology. In 1992, the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences was last renamed the Faculty of Agriculture. The institutes were abolished, and the Department of Soil Science became independent. Until 2003, the Department was under alternating presidency of Željko Vidaček (for a time also the dean of the Faculty) and Matko Bogunović, whereas later it was led by Stjepan Husnjak and Mario Sraka. From 2020, the Department of Soil Science operates as an independent sub-unit within the Division of Agroecology of the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture.

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