Cross-reference system for translating between genetic soil classification of China and soil taxonomy

X. Z. Shi, D. S. Yu, E. D. Warner, W. X. Sun, G. W. Petersen, Z. T. Gong, H. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


Soil classification systems are not consistent among countries or organizations thereby hindering the communication and organizational functions they are intended to promote. The development of translations between systems will be critical for overcoming the gap in understanding that has resulted from the lack of a single internationally accepted classification system. This paper describes the application of a process that resulted in the translation of the Genetic Soil Classification of China (GSCC) to Soil Taxonomy (ST). A brief history of soi classification in China is also provided to familiarize readers with GSCC and its origins. Genetic Soil Classification of China is the attribute base for the recently assembled digital form of the 1:1 000 000 soil map of The People's Republic of China. The translation between GSCC and ST was based on profile, chemical, and physical descriptions of 2540 soil series. First, the 2540 soil series were classified to their equivalent soi order, suborder, great group, and subgroup according to ST and GSCC subgroup descriptors. Order names for both classification systems were then linked to corresponding map units in the 1:1 000 000 digital soil map of China using a geographic information system (GIS). Differences in classification criteria and in the number of orders of the two systems (there are more GSCC orders than ST orders) meant that each GSCC order could possibly be assigned to more than one ST order. To resolve the differences, the percent correspondence in area between orders was determined and used as the criterion for assigning GSCC orders to ST orders. Some percentages of correspondence were low so additional processing was used to improve the assignment process. The GSCC suborders were then matched with ST orders. When the area for each order was summarized, the percentage of correspondence increased except for two subgroups in the Ferrasols order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-83
Number of pages6
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science


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