Hole, Francis Doan, 1913-2002 / Soils of Wisconsin
Preface, p. xv
Observations of soils of Wisconsin have been recorded by a great number of specialists in soil genesis, classification, and mapping, starting with T. C. Chamberlin in the 1880s. This publication makes available to the public a comprehensive summary of information thus far gathered on the soil resources of the state. It includes definitions of terms and concepts re- lating to factors and processes of soil formation, soil properties, modern soil classification, and descriptions of major soil re- gions of Wisconsin and of the specific kinds of soils that char- acterize them. A map sequence, beginning with an index map of Wisconsin (Fig. 1-1) and continuing through a series of pedogenic factor maps (Plates 2 through 6) to the final soil map (Plates 1 and 7), presents geographic relationships of soils to the environment - The importance of identifying and grouping soils in scientific and applied classification systems lies in the functions that the soils perform in the landscape. Soils redistribute precipitation, filter and decontaminate aqueous solutions and suspensions, make mineral nutrients available to plants and animals and people, and support structures such as roads and buildings. The variety of soils in a given area is astonishing. The diffi- culties of characterizing, classifying, and mapping so many soils are great-"There are few subjects," T. C. Chamberlin wrote in 1883, "upon which it is more difficult to make an ac- curate and at the same time intelligible report than upon soils." To cope with these difficulties, procedures of soil analysis, classification, and cartography have been developed by the in- ternational fraternity of soil survey specialists, in which Wis- consin workers have long been active. The soil scientist exca- vates the object of his inquiry, but only at points carefully selected on the basis of long experience and spaced closely or Preface widely depending on the high or low intensity of land use en- visaged. Soil survey information is reported in this book in both general and technical terminology. To help the reader with the latter, the principal soil classification terms are arranged in a chart, Fig. 4-2, which appears in Chapter 4, and are explained in the Glossary, Appendix 1 - A basic understanding of the soils of Wisconsin helps the observer to "read" each landscape for practical purposes or simply for the pleasure of it. Every site has a particular com- bination of geologic materials that were shaped long ago into hills, plains, and valleys. A layer of soil several feet thick covers the hills like a fragile fabric, many features of which have been impressed on the land by the action of climate, plants, and ani- mals in the course of many thousands of years. The present vegetative cover preserves it from erosion by wind and water. The soil itself serves as a reservoir of nutrients and moisture to support plant growth, and as a filter for water percolating to the water table. Sound conservation practices annually reduce soil erosion losses, even on cropland, to less than one thou- sandth of the plow layer. The people of this state have the power to control the land- use pattern and to adapt it to the capabilities of the hundreds of different kinds of soils. We in Wisconsin have long been con- cerned with good stewardship of the land. The purpose of this publication is to provide a tool for the effective discharge of this responsibility. xv
Copyright 1976 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved. Use of this material falling outside the purview of "fair use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.