Soil Classification - an overview by the FAO
Soil classification concerns the grouping of soils with a similar range of properties (chemical, physical and biological) into units that can be geo-referenced and mapped. Soils are a very complex natural resource, much more so than air and water.
Soils contain all naturally occurring chemical elements and combine simultaneously solid, liquid and gaseous states. Moreover, the number of physical, chemical and biological characteristics and their combinations are nearly endless. No wonder then that many different approaches have been proposed to come to a sensible grouping of different soils. Also soil classification systems were developed for different purposes :
- Soil Taxonomy to interpret soil surveys;
- The FAO Legend for representing the global distribution and geography of soils;
- WRB to facilitate correlations between different soil classification systems
For further information visit: http://www.fao.org/soils-portal/soil-survey/soil-classification/en/
In Australia the National Committee on Soil and Terrain (NCST) is the peak government committee providing national leadership and coordination on the assessment of soil and terrain in Australia.
Soil Judging Competitions
Soil judging competitions are relatively new to Australia. The concept of the Student Soil Judging competition is where university students compete to correctly identify soil features, classify soil profiles, and interpret soil capability.
The first Australian soil judging competition was held at the Hobart National Soils Conference in 2012 with 5 teams from 5 states competing. The second Australian soil judging competition was held at the Melbourne Soils Conference in 2014 with 10 teams competing. Setting a new record an Australian team competed in the International Soil Judging Competition held in conjunction with the World Congress of Soil Science in Korea in 2014.
There is growing recognition of the benefits of participation in soil judging for students. It is clear that there is a need to provide support to students, teams, coaches and the overall soil judging event to achieve the greatest benefit for the professional development of students and the broader soil science community. Enjoy reading about the soil competitions below and contact the Soil Science Australia office if you would like to sponsor this competition.