Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department
BS in Soil Science
Knowledge of soils has become very important in most land based enterprises. The understanding of soils is necessary for all different types of land management projects. The USDA mapped all of the soils in the United States starting in the late 1950’s to provide the necessary information. However because the mappers often times had to map entire counties in short amounts of time ,did not have modern technology, and had rather a vague operating procedure, there was no way to be accurate on the small scaled. To solve this problem I evaluated Dr. Ron Taskey’s landscape hierarchy, a method that utilizes changes in landscape to make a clear system for creation of soil map units. This evaluation was tested by finding typical pedons for each of the landforms using the Keys to Soil Taxonomy. Once the typical pedons are matched to known soil series, the total areas were delineated, in part by a soil auger to find boundaries. After mapping the area, it was discovered that the landscape hierarchy was very accurate at creating the soil map unit boundaries, and though this was not its intention, it was able to predict in some on tens of acres scale soil boundaries, and even on a smaller it was still very accurate with a few misdiagnosed boundaries. Overall, the landscape hierarchy worked very well to get the general overview of the soil area and was able to create a clear system but it was still necessary to delineate the boundaries in the field.