Soil description and classification notes for an internal training course

Department of Agriculture, Western Australia


What is the soil? A pedologist would describe soil as a natural body formed in response to atmospheric forces but different from its parent material. An agriculturist may describe soil merely as a medium for plant growth. However, plants grow in water, sand dunes and stream deposits. Are these also considered to be soil.The essential features of soil considered as a natural body are the horizons which reflect the action of atmospheric processes on weathered material. For instance moss on bare rock > weathering > more complex vegetation > soil horizons. These responses can be described as soil forming processes.