Ministry of Environment


3.2 The Soil Map of British Columbia

T.M. Lord and K.W.G. Valentine

The soil map of British Columbia (Figure 3.2.1) incorporates information collected over a long period of time by many people. Very few attempts have been made to produce such a map, probably because pedologists in British Columbia have always been conscious of the vast expanses of soil about which they know very little. An early map appeared in the 1956 British Columbia Atlas of Resources. The next published soil map of British Columbia appeared as part of the Soils of Canada map in 1972. Much of the present map is derived from that 1972 map, but changes were made based on information supplied by pedologists throughout British Columbia.

Many changes have been made. Ferro-Humic Podzols and Folisols have been mapped on the west coast, and Cryosolic soils have been mapped in the north and northeast using recent survey information. Field work in alpine areas has enabled us to identify specific soils there. There is no longer the alpine "Rockland" map unit which pedologists used in the same way that Medieval cartographers used "Here be Dragons" for areas they knew nothing about.

Not all of the map is equally reliable so a small inset map was added showing areas that had been surveyed. These areas contain the most accurate information. Elsewhere the soil units have been mapped from field information derived from special projects.

The map legend includes correlations with the United States Department of Agriculture soil classification following "Soil Taxonomy" (U.S.D.A., Agriculture Handbook 436, 1975). This allows correlation of the soils of British Columbia with the rest of North America.

The map will change again. It represents the present state of our imperfect knowledge of the distribution of soils in British Columbia.

Figure 3.2.1