Albrecht, C; Jahn, R; Huwe, B: Soil systematics and classification systems Part II: The German soil-science situation, Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 168(2), 157-168 (2005)
In Germany, soils are categorized with an ordering system which is based both on the principles of a systematics and on those of a classification system. The goal is to meet both the scientific and the practical demands. The soil-horizon and -profile definitions are structured allowing both subjective interpretations and threshold values. As a consequence, the configuration of the system is somehow inconsequent and leads to identification problems. As a result, the soil-systematic specifications often lack the quality needed for their application in other fields or disciplines. We suggest that the best solution would be to develop simultaneously both a scientifically based soil systematics as well as a simply to use and objective classification key. The German soil science has long been transitioning from a descriptive systematics to a threshold-based classification system, although both categorization systems should be applied in tandem. This tendency is shown prominently in the 5th edition of the German Handbook of Soil Mapping, which contains a classification key for the soil groups (Abteilungen), classes (Klassen), and types (Typen). The Handbook's new features and their impact are also of importance and are discussed. Further deliberations are conducted concerning any soil-scientific organizational requirements, with a focus placed on easing and improving the transfer of knowledge across the gap from pure science to practical applications.
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