Pedogenesis in the Grassland and Adjacent Forests of the Great Plains

  • D. W. Anderson
Part of the Advances in Soil Science book series (SOIL, volume 7)


The most important characteristics of the soils of grasslands are their dark, organic matter-rich surface layers and their substantial contents of nutritive elements. These soils are an important resource in that much of the world’s grain and livestock are produced on them. The extensive agricultural development is a consequence of not only the general absence of forest cover, making conversion to agriculture relatively simple, but the natural fertility and resiliency of the soils. The generally favorable characteristics are the result of the interactions among several components of the soil’s environment or the ecosystem over time. These interactions have determined the nature and degree of soil development. Therefore, a knowledge of the basic processes of soil formation and the environmental factors influencing the processes is important. This body of research, the science of pedology, allows not only an understanding of the origin of the soils but permits predictions of the soil’s response to changes in its environment. These considerations are particularly important at this time, in that many scientists show concern for a significant deterioration in the quality of the soil resource resulting from conventional tillage methods (Haas et aI., 1957; Rennie, 1982). New strategies, such as conservation tillage, are being proposed to check the decline. Research and resolution of these problems requires a concept of soil that considers soil as functioning and dynamic, as well as a means of organizing the knowledge gained. It is important that soils are viewed as a system.


Great Plain Grassland Soil Surface Horizon Canadian Prairie Adjacent Forest 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. W. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Saskatchewan Institute of PedologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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