Describing Soils

Genetic Soil Classification (New Zealand – legacy system)

Pioneer New Zealand soil scientist, Norman Taylor, developed the NZG

Soil classification on a comprehensive national scale was not developed until 1948. The pioneer New Zealand soil scientist, Norman Taylor, developed the New Zealand Genetic Classification that recognised "soil groups" and related them to the environmental factors that most influenced their character (Taylor 1948; Taylor and Pohlen 1962, 1968). Knowledge of these relationships helped the prediction of soil classes from observations of geology, landscape, climate and vegetation. Such predictions enabled rapid progress in the broad-scale exploratory mapping of New Zealand soils.

By the late 1970s, Taylor's New Zealand Genetic Soil Classification was becoming outdated. Soil classes were vaguely defined so that only experts could easily identify the correct class for many soils. The relationships between soils and environment that were useful at a broad scale were less useful for making soil maps at more detailed scales.