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The Management of Soils in Victoria: an Introduction
School of Geography and Environmental Science
Monash University, Victoria 3800
|"It has often been said that Australia has an old land surface, the implication of this being that the soils and underlying materials have been so strongly weathered that they are now infertile. This idea has to be qualified. While many areas of Australia have been exposed to weathering for many millions of years, many of its soils and surfaces, particularly those in the eastern part, are quite young, in fact as young as many in other continents, including those which were widely affected by glaciation. Even in those parts of Australia where there has been severe and deep weathering, older surfaces have been dissected and progressively younger soils have been developing in the older weathered materials. Simultaneously new surfaces have been developing on the sediments eroded from the old land surfaces and these sediments have in turn been reworked by the action of wind and water". (Beckmann 1983a, 51).|
Celery cropping on Brown Chromosols near Cranbourne. Photograph: Mark Imhof.
|Soils are classified using different systems such as the Soil Taxonomy scheme in the USA (e.g. Soil Survey Staff, 1992; Ahrens and Arnold, 2000), the soil orders of which were introduced by Wilding (2000) prior to detailed review by other authors (Sumner, 2000: E-183 - E-392). Systems for other countries were summarised by Spaargaren (2000).|
A review of soil mapping in Australia was presented by Gibbons (1983). The Great Soil Groups presented in `A Manual of Australian Soils' (Stephens, 1962) led to `A Handbook of Australian Soils' (Stace et al., 1968).
The first edition of the `Factual Key' of Northcote (1979) was published in 1960 and, as Gibbons (1983) noted, this scheme was prepared for the `Atlas of Australian Soils' (Northcote et al., 1960-68). Isbell's `The Australian Soil Classification' was published in 1996, and the mapping of Victorian soils using this scheme is currently being undertaken (M. Imhof, pers. comm.). In order to facilitate continuity between older data sets and reports, the systems of Stace et al. (1968), Northcote (1979) and Isbell (1996) were all used in the preparation of the present series of articles. Approximate correlations between various soil classification schemes were presented by Stace et al. (1968), Northcote et al. (1975), Butler and Hubble (1977), Moore et al. (1983) and Isbell (1996).
Broadscale soil map of Victoria (Stace et al, 1968)
Broadscale soil map of Victoria based on Northcote (1960). (Anon, 1964)
Various characteristics of Australian soils were presented by Russell and Greacen (1977), Oades et al. (1981), Hubble et al. (1983), Chittleborough (1992), Chartres (1993), Isbell (1995) and Charman and Murphy (2000). The formation and characteristics of soils in Victoria were discussed by Hills (1975), Jenkin and Rowan (1987) and Leeper and Uren (1993).