Encyclopedia of Soil Science

2008 Edition
| Editors: Ward Chesworth

Factors of Soil Formation

  • Carlota Garcia Paz
  • Teresa Taboada Rodríguez
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-3995-9_207

These may be defined as “the interrelated natural agencies responsible for the formation of soil” (Gregorich, 2001). Dokuchaev introduced the “factorial” approach to soil genesis and considered the important factors to be living and dead organisms, parent rock, climate and relief (Strzemski, 1975). In North America, the idea was taken up by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a clear statement along these lines may be found in “Soils and Men” (USDA, 1938):

“True soil is the product of the action of climate and living organisms upon the parent material, as conditioned by the local relief. The length of time during which these forces are operative is of great importance in determining the character of the ultimate product. Drainage conditions are also important and are controlled by local relief, by the nature of the parent material or underlying rock strata, or by the amount of precipitation in relation to rate of percolation and run‐off water. There are therefore, five principal...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Birkeland, P., 1999. Soils and Geomorphology, 3rd edn., New York [etc]: Oxford University Press, 430 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Byers, H.G., Kellog, C.E., Anderson, M.S., and Thorp, J., 1938. Formation of soil. USDA, pp. 948–978.Google Scholar
  3. Chesworth, W., 1973. The parent rock effect in the genesis of soil. Geoderma, 10: 215–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gregorich, E.G., Turchenek, L.W., Carter, M.R., and Angers, D.A., 2001. Soil and Environmental Science Dictionary. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 577 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Jenny, H., 1941. Factors of Soil Formation: A System of Quantitative Pedology. New York/London: McGraw‐Hill, 281 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Strzemski, M., 1975. Ideas Underlying Soil Systematics. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service, 542 pp.Google Scholar
  7. USDA, 1938. Soils and Men. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1232 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Yaalon, D., 1975. Conceptual models in pedogenesis. Can soil‐forming functions be solved? Geoderma, 14: 189–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlota Garcia Paz
  • Teresa Taboada Rodríguez

There are no affiliations available