Preface (First Edition 1978)

This publication replaces The System of Soil Classification for Canada published by Canada Department of Agriculture as Publication 1455, Revised 1974. Some of the changes in the system were agreed upon at the 1973 and 1976 meetings of the Canada Soil Survey Committee (CSSC) and subsequent decisions have been made by the Subcommittee on Soil Classification. The main changes are as follows:

  1. The inclusion of a Cryosolic order for soils having permafrost close to the surface.
  2. The elimination of subgroup modifiers and therefore a reduction in the number of subgroup combinations.
  3. The deletion of soil type as a category in the system.
  4. The increased uniformity of presentation of the soil orders.
  5. The amplification of the introductory material to give more of the background and rationale of soil classification in Canada.

This publication presents the current state of soil taxonomy in Canada. The Canadian systemwas influenced by history, regional biases, new information on soils in Canada and elsewhere,and international concepts of soil. It represents the views of most Canadian pedologists, but not all the details are satisfactory to any one pedologist. This is a stage in the evolution of an improved system that will result from further knowledge of soils and an improved arrangement of the information.

The history and rationale of soil classification in Canada are outlined briefly to point out the changes in concepts and the current point of view on soil taxonomy. This is followed by chapters that define soil, soil horizons, and other basic terms, and explain how to key out the classification of a soil. A chapter is devoted to each of the nine soil orders and the great groups and subgroups within each order. The orders are arranged alphabetically, but great groups and subgroups are arranged as they were in previous versions of the system. Chapters on the family and series categories and on soil phases follow. The recently developed landform classification system for soil surveys that was approved by CSSC in 1976 is included as a separate chapter.For additional information see: Canada Department of Agriculture (1976), Clayton et al. (1977), Working Group on Soil Survey Data (1975), and soil survey reports available from provincial soil survey units.

This revision was prepared by the Subcommittee on Soil Classification of the Canada Soil Survey Committee: T.M. Lord, British Columbia; W.W. Pettapiece, Alberta; R.J. St. Arnaud, Saskatchewan; R.E. Smith, Manitoba; C.J. Acton, Ontario; R. Baril, Quebec; G.J. Beke and C.Wang, Atlantic Provinces; and J.H. Day, J.A. McKeague, J.L. Nowland, and J. A. Shields, all of Ottawa.

The Subcommittee wishes to thank all those who shared in the preparation of this publication. Many pedologists critically reviewed drafts of sections and made useful suggestions. Janet Lyons typed several drafts of the manuscript. B. Baker, Graphics Section, Research Program Service, prepared the drawings.

Readers are invited to send their questions and suggestions to the chairman of the Canada Soil Survey Committee, Soil Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ont.

J. A. McKeague
Subcommittee on Soil Classification

Source: The Canadian System of Soil Classification (Third Edition)