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Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook

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Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook

Third Edition

Australian Soil and Land Survey Handbooks Series 1

National Committee on Soil and Terrain  

264 pages, 220 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2009
ISBN: 9780643093959 - AU $ 69.95

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The Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook specifies methods and terminology for soil and land surveys. It has been widely used throughout Australia, providing one reference set of definitions for the characterisation of landform, vegetation, land surface, soil and substrate.

The book advocates that a comprehensive suite of land and soil attributes be recorded in a uniform manner. This approach is more useful than the allocation of land or soil to preconceived types or classes.

The third edition includes revised chapters on location and vegetation as well as some new landform elements. These updates have been guided by the National Committee on Soil and Terrain, a steering committee comprising representatives from key federal, state and territory land resource assessment agencies.

Essential reading for all professionals involved in land resource surveys, this book will also be of value to students and educators in soil science, geography, ecology, agriculture, forestry, resource management, planning, landscape architecture and engineering.


  • Allows for systematic recording of field observations
  • Lists attributes necessary to describe site and soil conditions
  • Definitions of attributes, terms and categories are internationally consistent but particular emphasis is given to Australian conditions
  • Suggests codings for attributes, terms and categories to allow concise recording systems to be developed for field use
  • This revised edition contains significant changes to the Vegetation chapter and revisions to the Location chapter bringing it up-to-date with the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

 Preface to the first edition
Preface to the second edition
Preface to the third edition

Purpose and use of handbook (J.G. Speight and R.F. Isbell)
The site concept (J.G. Speight and R.C. McDonald)
Location (L.J. Gregory, R.C. McDonald and R.F. Isbell)
General (R.C. McDonald and R.F. Isbell)
Landform (J.G. Speight)
Vegetation (R.J. Hnatiuk, R. Thackway and J. Walker)
Land surface (R.C. McDonald, R.F. Isbell and J.G. Speight)
Soil profile (R.C,. MdDonald and R.F. Isbell)
Substrate (J.G. Speight and R.F. Isbell)

Appendix 1: Soil taxonomic units (R.F. Isbell and R.C. McDonald)




 "This widely used and well-respected book remains the most comprehensive compendium of field attributes (also known as properties, characteristics or traits) in Australia. Since its first publication in 1984, extensive databases of landform, vegetation and soil have been compiled using the measurement system for recording attributes as outlined in the Handbook. Although the fourth edition may be radically different to the current 2009 edition, the Field Handbook is an essential companion to soil scientists, geographers and botanists who undertake field surveys."
Bernie Masters, Austral Ecology (2012), Vol 37

"The writing is generally clear and succinct...This book is likely to be indispensable for soil surveyors and many other field scientists in Australia, and is useful and interesting to those elsewhere."
Ian Baille, European Journal of Soil Science, February 2010, Vol 61, 2010


Related Titles
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