The fundamental objective of soil classification is the usefulness to the widest possible range of users. Such a classification should be natural rather than artificial because soils are natural bodies. Further, it should be hierarchical rather than co-ordinate because hierarchies are readily comprehensible and memorable, can be constructed on the basis of a few characters and do not need to give equal weight to all criteria used in classifying soils. They also have the advantage of closely defined, mutually exclusive classes which can still make allowance for occasional aberrant profiles or pedons. The historical development of soil classifications is discussed with particular reference to the Russian and French and especially the U.S. Department of Agriculture 7th Approximation. The latter is defended against the main criticisms that have been levelled against it. It is maintained that it has been desired by sound inductive as well as deductive reasoning, that it treats soils as polythetic individuals, that it considers pedons three-dimensionally and that it permits nonhierarchical sub-classifications. Attention is given to the more practical criticisms that there is an undue emphasis on soil moisture and temperature regimes, unknown genetic criteria and the shallower horizons and that it handles sesquioxidic soils inadequately. Positive advocacy is made on the ground that the 7th approximation will facilitate and speed soil research especially in developing countries. /Author/

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Oxford University Press

    Press Road, Neasden
    London NW10 0DD,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Mitchell, C W
  • Publication Date: 1973-12

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 411-420
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 24
    • Issue Number: 4
    • Publisher: Blackwell Scientific Publications Limited
    • ISSN: 0022-4588

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00260062
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 5 1974 12:00AM