Ministry of Environment

Soils

Part 4 - The Development and Use of Soil and Terrain Surveys in British Columbia

4. 1 Introduction

P.N. Sprout

Soils do not uniformly cover the earth's surface. They vary from place to place and can be thick or thin, wet or dry, fertile or infertile. The proper use of soils with such diverse properties calls for prior knowledge of their location and characteristics. Part 4 deals with the survey activities which have taken place over the years to acquire such knowledge. It outlines the methods which have evolved to identify, map, and report on the different soils of British Columbia, and on how they can be used. This procedure of identifying soils in the field was initiated in 1926, but even today not all of the province has been covered; large areas in the northern and coastal sections are still to be done.

The first section of Part 4 describes the pioneering efforts of a few individuals who persisted in spite of difficult conditions and meager support. The second section deals with the heady days of the Canada Land Inventory program when support and funding for soil surveys reached unprecedented levels. The final section summarizes these accomplishments and gives a glimpse of things to come.