Classification of Soils: FAO
The FAO soil classification system is based on the Legend for the Soil Map of the world (FAO/UNESCO, 1974).
The FAO legend was largely based on the diagnostic horizon approach developed under Soil Taxonomy (Soil Survey Staff, 1960) by the USDA during the 1950s and 1960s. Similar horizons were defined, and where definitions of the diagnostic horizons were slightly simplified, different names were used for comparable horizons such as the ferralic horizon equivalent to the oxic horizon, or the argic horizon equivalent to the argillic horizon in Soil Taxonomy. The grouping is based on measurable as well as observable soil properties.
Certain historical soil names were retained to accommodate some national sensitivities. Examples of these at the highest level were rendzinas, Solonetzes, Solonchaks, and Chernozems. Some of the names had a dubious scientific connotation (such as the podzoluvisols in which no podzolization takes place), while others were nearly identical to those developed in...
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