University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences


The Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) focuses on the understanding of plant and soil issues important to Hawaii and other tropical areas of the world. TPSS courses are designed to enable students to develop an understanding of the interactions among plants, soil, water and air in different settings. Students learn about the full spectrum of subjects and activities required to understand and responsibly manage land, water, crops and their environments including fundamental biological, chemical, and physical processes and activities. Courses in specialized topics cover tropical flower, fruit, vegetable and crop production; turf and landscape management; plant physiology; breeding and genetics; and soil science.

The Department is involved in the adaptation and application of biotechnology and production technologies to enhance and sustain food production, assure a safe food supply and development of environmentally sound production and soil restoration systems. The department's research interests include: tropical fruit breeding, genetics, physiology, and management; floriculture, especially anthuriums, orchids, and proteas; ornamental plant breeding, genetics, and physiology; soil chemistry, fertility, biochemistry, and microbiology; post-harvest physiology and handling; horticulture production systems including organic systems; crop modeling; landscape design and maintenance; organic waste management, and weed science.

Degrees offered include a BS, MS (Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C), and PhD in tropical plant and soil sciences. At the undergraduate level, specialization options are: plant sciences and genetics; plant production and management; environmental soil science; and landscape horticulture. The Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences graduate program has three options: plant science, horticulture, and soil science. All three options emphasize the development of problem-solving skills that integrate molecular, biochemical, physiological, chemical, genetic and ecological approaches to collaborative research in plant and soil sciences. A certificate in Agribusiness Management and an academic minor in Plant Production and Management are also offered through the TPSS Department.


The Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department programs emphasize interdisciplinary approaches to research and instruction. These programs are primarily supported by the literature of horticulture and soil science, but they also rely the literature of agriculture, agronomy, biochemistry, biology, botany, chemistry, food science, genetics, microbiology, plant pathology, and zoology.

Additional horticulture and soil sciences materials relating to Hawaii and the tropical Pacific are acquired through Special Collections. The Hawaiian Collection is the primary repository for material originating in Hawaii. The Pacific Collection includes materials about islands of the Pacific. These departments sometimes purchase duplicate copies of heavily used titles for the general circulating collection. The Government Documents Collection also includes agricultural literature especially from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Research in the Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department is also supported by collections in the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (formerly the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association) Library. There are no formal collecting arrangements with this library.


Language: English is preferred. Spanish and Portuguese publications on tropical areas are collected on a limited basis. Historical materials in Dutch, French and German concerning the tropical Pacific are occasionally acquired. Asian language materials are collected for tropical crops; they are housed in both the Science and Technology area and the Asia Collection.

Chronological: No limitations, but the emphasis is on current theories and research.

Geographic: Tropical and sub-tropical areas are of primary interest, with an emphasis on the Pacific islands and Pacific rim regions. Materials on any horticultural industry in Hawaii, or any potential horticultural crop for Hawaii, are collected. Basic coverage is maintained for temperate crops. Interest in particular crops can determine geographical parameters.

Date of Publication: Current materials are emphasized; gaps are filled as needed. Rare and historical materials may be acquired as gifts.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: Scholarly journals are of primary importance in plant and soil sciences; where available and financially feasible, Web access is preferred for journal subscriptions. Web-accessible journal article databases, including back files, are acquired as funds permit. Monographs and monographic series on current research in the field are generally collected in print format, but e-book availability is increasing. Conference proceedings are collected selectively in either print or Web accessible electronic format. Reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and bibliographies are collected and Web access is preferred when available. Dissertations and theses in print format are collected on a very selective basis. Audiovisual materials and microforms are purchased only when requested by faculty. Excluded are manuscripts and preprints and reprints of journal articles.

Electronic Format: See Types and Formats of Materials Collected.

Treatment: All treatments are included. Both research and applied aspects are collected. Popular works and textbooks are selectively collected on crops of particular importance in Hawaii. Historical and biographical treatments are acquired selectively.


Books that document plant or soil science scholarly research and university level textbooks no more than five years old may be accepted. Gifts in other formats that are relevant to the research or instruction mission of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department will also be reviewed. Popular magazines, short journal runs, materials that duplicate items already in our collections, and materials in poor condition generally are not accepted. Contact the horticulture or soil science subject librarian ( to discuss the nature, extent and timing of your donation. Gifts of archival materials that relate to the history of the university should be discussed with the University Archives (

When donated items are accepted by the UH Manoa Library they become the possession of the Library. The Library reserves the right to make decisions about the disposition of these materials. A letter of acknowledgement will be sent to donors, but the Library cannot provide monetary appraisals of gifts.

NOTE: This policy replaces the previous policies for Horticulture, Plant Physiology, and Agronomy and Soil Sciences.

Compiled by: Eileen Herring
Date: June 2008

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