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Map of the Month

The value of soil survey maps and the influence they have on the health and wealth of planet Earth are often overlooked. Simply put, the world’s population takes for granted the importance of the “ground” we stand on. This page is designed to generate awareness about the relationship between historic maps and today’s environmental triumphs. Soil maps have always been critical for conservation and “Helping People Help the Land.” 

Each of these maps has historical significance. Some illustrate the work of noteworthy soil scientists; others show information that provided insight and direction for doing the right thing for the land. Whether the scientific community is addressing erosion or global warming, soil survey maps and the story they tell are foundational for how we treat the land.

Click on the image below to open a PDF file.

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Hugh Hammond Bennett is most widely known as a champion for making the Nation and the world aware of the perils of soil erosion. During the first part of his career, however, he was a mapper, a soil scientist, and a pedologist.

Although most of his work was in the southeastern United States, he made some of the first soil maps of Alaska, as shown by this 1914 soil map of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. This map not only shows the soils, some of which are organic, some alluvial, and many with permafrost, it also shows the extent of the glaciers in 1914.