Impacts of fundamental changes to Soil Taxonomy

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Date of Original Version



Soil Taxonomy is one of the dominant soil classification systems in the world, but has undergone revisions on a regular basis since 1983. It is larger and some parts have become difficult to apply without considerable experience. Some pedologists that are not daily users (e.g. soil mappers) have called for a simpler version. The second edition of the Illustrated Guide to Soil Taxonomy serves as a model for enhanced teaching purposes that can be used by others besides trained soil scientists. In 2014, a task force was created to develop a set of proposed improvements to Soil Taxonomy. Guiding principles were established to assist in the development of proposals to increase the use of Soil Taxonomy, minimise the impact on the existing soil survey and soil science division programs, and move toward harmonisation of definitions with other classification systems, such as the WRB and South African systems. Initially, 15 proposals have been listed. Examples of a simplified mollic epipedon and addition of several new soil orders are discussed. Accepted proposals will contribute toward the third edition of Soil Taxonomy. The impact will be easier collaboration between soil scientists in countries that use Soil Taxonomy and better communication with other professionals.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

South African Journal of Plant and Soil