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Soil Taxonomy

The second edition of Soil Taxonomy, A Basic System of Soil Classification for Making and Interpreting Soil Surveys is the result of the collective experience and contributions of thousands of pedologists from around the world.

NRCS maintains and provides leadership for amending Soil Taxonomy and for maintaining the soil series classification data. All soil surveys within the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) must use Soil Taxonomy. Soil surveys use Soil Taxonomy to provide:

  1. A connotative naming system that enables those users familiar with the nomenclature to remember selected properties of soils.
  2. A means for understanding the relationships among soils within a given area and in different areas.
  3. A means of communicating concepts of soils and soil properties.
  4. A means of projecting experience with soils from one area to another.
  5. Names that can be used as reference terms to identify soil map unit components.
Soil Taxonomy.pdf (24.45 MB)

A printed copy is available from:

NRCS Distribution Center
Enter keywords: soil taxonomy 2nd edition
Phone: 888-526-3227

Recommended Citation

Soil Survey Staff. 1999. Soil taxonomy: A basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveys. 2nd edition. Natural Resources Conservation Service. U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook 436.


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