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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Wyoming Rocky Mountain Forest Soils: Mapping Using an ARC/INFO Geographic Information System


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 61 No. 6, p. 1730-1737
    Received: Feb 5, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. S. Rahman,
  2. L. C. Munn ,
  3. G. F. Vance and
  4. C. Arneson
  1. Soil Science Division, Agricultural Research Inst., Peshawar (NWFP), Pakistan
    Dep. of Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences
    Wyoming Water Resources Center, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071



In the western USA, wildland soil survey areas are often large, and the resources of money, personnel, and time required for conventional soil survey techniques are in short supply. We evaluated an alternative methodology for producing soil maps through a process of transecting, model construction, and projection onto a map base using ARC/INFO geographic information system (GIS) technology. We conducted this study in the Libby Creek watershed in Wyoming where soil distribution (Cryoboralfs, Cryoborolls, Cryaquolls, Cryaquents, Cryochrepts, and Cryorthents) is a function of geology, slope stability, and vegetation. The GIS-generated soils map was compared with existing general (Order 4) and detailed (Order 3) soils maps prepared for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Discrepancies noted between the GIS-generated map and USFS maps included: Cryochrepts were the dominant soil on the GIS map (44%), but comprised only 15% on the USFS detailed soils map; Cryumbrepts occupied 19% of the USFS general soils map but only 2% on the GIS-derived soils map; and no Cryumbrepts were delineated in the study area on the USFS detailed soils map. Only two of the eight Cryumbrepts sampled occurred within Cryumbrept delineations on the USFS general soils map. Of the 37 pedons sampled and classified along the five transects across Libby Creek watershed, 11 (30%) corresponded to named soils of mapping units in the USFS general soils map, and 20 (54%) coincided on the USFS detailed soils map. Results of this study suggest transecting and GIS-based mapping can be an effective technique for producing general soils maps, and can aid in placing soil boundaries for detailed soils maps.

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