• James G. Bockheim
  • Alfred E. HarteminkEmail author
Part of the World Soils Book Series book series (WSBS)


There are many definitions for soil ranging from the utilitarian to a description that focuses on material. Soil has been recognized as (i) a natural body, (ii) a medium for plant growth, (iii) an ecosystem component, (iv) a vegetated water-transmitting mantle, and (v) an archive of past climate and processes. In this book, we follow the definition given in the Keys to Soil Taxonomy (Soil Survey Staff in soil classification, a comprehensive system, 7th approximation. U.S, Govt. Print. Office, Washington, DC, 2014, p. 1) that the soil “is a natural body comprised of solids (minerals and organic matter ), liquid, and gases that occurs on the land surface, occupies space, and is characterized by one or both of the following: horizons, or layers, that are distinguishable from the initial material as a result of additions, losses, transfers, and transformations of energy and matter or the ability to support rooted plants in a natural environment”.


Soil Series Soil Taxonomy Soil Survey Staff Natural Resource Conservation Natural Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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