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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 now available here in PDF format for printing or viewing. A printed copy is also available.

The PDF file incorporates errata dated 5/00 and 8/02.

Soil Taxonomy (PDF; 24.4 MB)
Errata Sheet for Soil Taxonomy (PDF; 7 KB)

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.

A printed or CD copy of the second edition of "Soil Taxonomy" is available from the following source:

NRCS Distribution Center
Enter keywords: soil taxonomy 2nd edition
Phone toll free: 1-888-526-3227

Proposals to Amend Soil Taxonomy

The proposals shown below have not been adopted into NCSS standards. Their posting on this webpage does not constitute formal approval. Comments on these proposals may be returned to the national leader for soil survey standards, Curtis Monger, at

Current Proposals

Resolution of Proposals


Keys to Soil Taxonomy

Includes links to both Spanish and English versions of the Keys, an Illustrated Guide, and historical editions.


Guide to Pronouncing Taxonomic Terms

This guide presents a list of terms (in alphabetical order) that are used in Soil Taxonomy along with other terms used to describe soils.