Soil conditionsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Soil scientists have evaluated linkages between forests and soils for many years (e.g., Alway and McMiller 1933). The traditional soil surveys of landscapes in the United States are purposive, selecting for analysis sites that are deemed representative “of an extensive mappable area” (USDA Soil Survey Division Staff 1993). By contrast, the Soil Quality Indicator by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a statistically-based survey of forest soils in the United States. The design and sampling strategy of the Soil Quality Indicator is powerful, and it lends itself to addressing questions at broader spatial scales than most other research programs. An additional benefit of the program is that field samples are archived for later and complementary analyses.