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Land Resources Surveys


 

Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 51(3)

The World Reference Base for Soils (WRB) and Soil Taxonomy: an appraisal of their application to the soils of the Northern Rivers of New South Wales

David T. Morand

A Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet, PO Box 856, Alstonville, NSW 2477, Australia.
B Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia. Email: David.Morand@environment.nsw.gov.au

Soil Research 51(3) 167-181 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SR12144
Submitted: 29 May 2012  Accepted: 14 May 2013   Published: 11 June 2013


 
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Abstract

Few soil surveys in New South Wales have utilised international soil classifications. Extensive morphological and laboratory data collected during soil surveys in the Northern Rivers region provided a strong basis for correlation with the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB), Soil Taxonomy (ST), and the Australian Soil Classification (ASC). Of the 32 reference soil groups comprising the WRB, 20 were present locally; nine of the 12 ST orders were present. After re-classification of soils, correlation of the ASC with the WRB and ST was undertaken. Soils not requiring extensive laboratory analysis for classification and sharing similar central concepts were the more straightforward to correlate. Several ASC orders have unique central concepts and were therefore difficult to correlate with any one WRB reference soil group or ST order/suborder. Other soils were difficult to correlate due to differences in definitions of similar diagnostic criteria. This is most applicable to soils with strong texture-contrast and those with natric conditions. Such soils are not adequately differentiated to suit the Northern Rivers conditions. Of the two international schemes, the WRB was easier to apply locally due to the relative simplicity of the scheme. Considering certain aspects of Australian soils would improve the applicability of the WRB as a truly international framework for soil classification and correlation. Amendments to both the ASC and WRB are suggested.

Additional keywords: Australian Soil Classification, soil classification, soil correlation, soil survey.


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