History of soil survey in Canada 1914-1975

McKeague, J. A.
Stobbe, P. C.
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Canada Department of Agriculture

In 1975, Canadian pedologists could look back on about 60 years of soil survey in Canada. During those years, soil maps of varying scales and degrees of sophistication had been made of most of the settled area of the country and significant forays had been made into the vast northern regions. About 150 pedologists and student assistants were in the field in the summer of 1975 mapping soils from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and from southern Ontario to the Arctic Islands. A similar number of pedologists and supporting staff were busy with correlation, cartography, soil data management, research, and administration related directly to soil survey. Demand was strong for soil survey information and its interpretation for land use planning purposes. This is in sharp contrast with some periods in the past when financial support for soil survey was withdrawn, and even when soil information was available it was often ignored. The purpose of this report is to trace the development of soil survey in Canada from its inception to 1975. Although 60 years is a brief span in terms of human history or even of the history of European settlement in Canada, it encompasses more than half the period during which systematic soil surveys have been done anywhere in the world. Major changes have occurred not only in methods of soil survey and systems of mapping but also in concepts of the soil itself. Tracing the evolution of these methods and concepts should help to put in perspective the present stage of development of soil survey in Canada.

Federal Documents & Miscellaneous Reports
soil, classification, soil survey, land use, soil cartography