These maps were generated using the Natural Resources Conservation Service State Soil Geographic Database (STATSGO) using soils of capability class of III, IV, and V as the criteria for marginal lands. Soil capability Classes VI, VII, and VII are economically prohibitive due to steepness of slope, depth to bedrock, or other limitation and have been excluded. The dataset was overlaid and clipped using Gap Analysis Program (GAP)/Land Use Land Cover (LULC) data to produce marginal lands presently in forest, pasture, and crop. The visual map displays the approximate locations of these land covers. Acreage data for land use was generated through the 1997 National Resources Inventory (NRI). This acreage does not include federal agency managed lands or lands enrolled in federal conservation programs.
Land capability classification shows, in a general way, the suitability of soils for most kinds of field crops. Crops that require special management are excluded. The soils are grouped according to their limitations for field crops, the risk of damage if they are used for crops, and the way they respond to management. The criteria used in grouping the soils do not include major and generally expensive land forming that would change slope, depth, or other characteristics of the soils, nor do they include possible but unlikely major reclamation projects. Capability classes are designated by the numbers I through VIII. The numbers indicate progressively greater limitations and narrower choices for practical use. Capability classification is not a substitute for interpretations that show suitability and limitations of groups of soils for rangeland, for woodland, and for engineering purposes.