Soil-Forming Factors

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


The expression of a soil results from five factors operating collectively: climate , organisms, relief, parent material, and time (Fig. 3.1). The factors are interacting over time and cause a range of soil processes (e.g., illuviation ) that result in a diversity of soil properties (e.g., high clay content in the subsoil). Human activities that result in soil changes are often considered a sixth factor. Following the “Russian school of soil science,” Kellogg (Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey 77A. 113, 2004) illustrated the importance of geology, climate, and native vegetation on the distribution of soils in Wisconsin. Nygard et al. (Soil Science Society of America, Proceedings 16:123–129, 1952) related the general distribution of soils in the northern Great Lakes region to climate, vegetation , and parent materials. The following is a review of the role of soil-forming factors in the development of Wisconsin soils.


Sugar Maple Ground Moraine Glacial Deposit Lateral Moraine Middle Woodland 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

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

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