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California Environment Information Sources

General Introductions

  • California Forest Soils: a Guide for Professional Foresters and Resource Managers and Planners (Laacke) 1979 (SD 390.3 U6 C35) Includes general material and description of 25 forest soil series found in California.

  • "California Soils and Examples of Ultramafic Vegetation" (O'Green, Dahlren and Sanchez-Mata) INTerrestrial Vegetation of California (Barbour, Keeler-Wolf and Schoenherr) 2007 (ref QK 149 T44 2007) Includes an general introduction to soil development and taxonomy followed by the geography of California soils. Includes a special section on ultrmafic soils in California which harbor many of California's rare plants.

  • Introduction to California Soils and Plants: Serpentine, Vernal Pools, and Other Geological Wonders (Kruckeberg) 2006 (QK 86 U6 K78 2006) (California Natural History Guides # 86) Introduction to basic principles of plant geography and plant endemism with specific examples from California. The book shows how California geology has created unusual soils and land forms--serpentines, carbonate rocks, salt marshes, salt flats, and vernal pools--which in turn has resulted in a great biodiversity in plant life. Includes a directory of sites to visit that show how landforms and soils influence plant life.

  • Serpentine Geoecology of Western North America: Geology, Soils, and Vegetation (Alexander) 2007 (Digital book available to HSU users only) Introductory chapters cover the geology, hydrology, soils and plant life on ultramafic rocks and serpentine soils.  The longest part of the work contains descriptions of 112 serpentine sites arranged into 10 domains. California domains include the Sierra Motherlode, Southern California Coast Ranges, Northern California Coast Ranges and Klamath Mountains. Each domain includes information on the geology, soils and vegetation of that domain with more specific descriptions for each site in the domain.  Appendix G includes a list of “California Plant Taxa Endemic to Serpentine”.

Data Compilations

  • Laboratory Data and Descriptions for Some Typical Pedons of California Soils (Allardice) 1983 (3 volumes) (S 599 C2 L32) (Volume II: North Coast is in Humboldt County Collection) Contains laboratory on California soil series.
  • California Soil Series Data (Cooperative Soil Survey) Alphabetical listing of all soil series in California with links to detailed descriptions of each soil series found in Official Soil Series Descriptions from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Each description includes information on taxonomic classification, typical pedon description, type location, range in characteristics, competing series, geographic setting, geographically associated soils, drainage and permeability, use and vegetation, distribution and extent, and other remarks. Also includes links to the Soil Extent Mapping Tool that shows soil series extent graphically.
  • Soil Data MartCalifornia (U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service)One-stop source for digital soils data that includes over 2000 U.S. soil surveys with spatial and tabular information plus another 800 soil surveys with tabular (soil attribute) data only. Replaces the Map Unit Interpretation Records (MUIR) and the Soil Survey Geographical Database (SSURGO) databases. The spatial data is only available for downloading and is designed for GIS use. The Soil Data Mart allows you to:
    Determine where spatial and tabular data are available
    Download data for a soil survey
    Download a MicroSoft Access template for use with the tabular data 
    Generate a variety of soil reports 
    Find contact information for a soil survey 
    Subscribe to update notifications for a soil survey area.
  • Soil Laboratory Data and Descriptions of Some Soils of California (U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service) 1973 (print copy available in Docs A 57.52: 24) Contains soil descriptions and laboratory data for approximately 300 soil series in California resulting from NRCS cooperative soil survey investigations.
  • Soil Nutrient Storage for California Wildland Soils: Standard Depts by 1 Foot Intervals to 72 Inches (Colwell and Zinke) 1973 (S 592.16 C65 1973) Contains laboratory analyses of 428 soil profile samples obtained as part of the California Soil-Vegetation Survey. Organized by soil series symbol and covers series 335-992.

Guides and Bibliographies

  • Index to Soil Surveys in California (California Department of Conservation) 1982 (Ref S 599 C2 T76 1986) Lists availability of soil surveys by county and by agency.

  • Index to Forest and Range Soil Series in California(Stangenberger & Mallory) 1981 (ref SD 390.3 U6 C37) Master list of all soil series mapped by the California Cooperative Soil-Vegetation Survey.

  • Published Soil Surveys for California (U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service) Lists both print and online surveys completed by the NRCS. Print soil suveys are available in Docs A57.38. See also maps showing the Status of Soil Surveys - California and Status of Digitized Soil Surveys - California.

  • Soil and Vegetation Maps of California with an Emphasis on Northwestern California. HSU Library research guide available in the Map and Atlas Collection that discusses the major soil and vegetation surveys that cover California.

Environmental History

CA - Soils Maps

General Soils Map Stanislaus County

For background information see History of California Soil Mapping (Professional Soil Scientists Association of California)

Guides and Indexes

  • Early Soils Maps of the U.S.D.A Soil Survey Series 1899-1962: California (Soares) Lists soil maps for California appearing in the USDA soil survey series from 1900 through 1961. The 105 maps are listed chronologically in the Bibliography portion. Each entry includes the soil map title, names of those responsible for the map content, series date, scale, date of aerial photograph base map if applicable, soil report title, issue date, the SuDoc number for the separate soil survey and/or field operations report, and in parentheses the counties covered. Some maps are available online. Two indexes are included, author and county/area name.
  • Index to Soil Surveys in California (California Department of Conservation) 1982 (Ref S 599 C2 T76 1986) Lists availability of soil surveys by county and by agency.
  • Index to Forest and Range Soil Series in California (Stangenberger & Mallory) 1981 (ref SD 390.3 U6 C37) Master list of all soil series mapped by the California Cooperative Soil-Vegetation Survey.
  • Published Soil Surveys for California (U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service) Lists both print and online surveys completed by the NRCS. Print soil suveys are available in Docs A57.38. See also maps showing the Status of Soil Surveys and Status of Digital Soil Surveys.
  • Soil and Vegetation Maps of California with an Emphasis on Northwestern California. HSU Library research guide available in the Map and Atlas Collection that discusses the major soil and vegetation surveys that cover California.

Maps and Atlases

  • California Online Soil Survey Manuscripts (U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service)
  • Historical Soil Survey Maps of California (U.S Department of Agriculture) (print maps available in Docs A 57.38) Surveys range in date between 1900 and 1941.
  • Soil-Vegetation Maps (California Cooperative Soil Vegetation Survey) (G 4361 J3 s62 U5) Series at a scale of 1:31,680 or 1:24,000 that maps soil and vegetation characteristics in units as small as 10 acres. Geographic coverage is mostly the foothill and mountain wildlands of northern California. See the Quadrangle Index Key to determine quadrangle numbers for individual maps. Located in the map filing cabinet in the Atlas and Map Collection are explanatory guides for each individual map as well general guides for the series, all of which contain keys to the map symbols.
  • SoilWeb: an Online Soil Survey Browser (California Soil Resource Lab) Can be used to access National Cooperative Soil Survey detailed soil survey data (SSURGO) for California and most of the United States. Available in several interfaces--web, Google Earth, cell phone and text.
  • Web Soil Survey (U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service) Database containing official USDA soil survey information as viewable maps and tables for more than 2300 soil surveys in the United States and its territories. Define an area of interest using an interactive map, or enter an address, county, hydrologic unit or soil survey area; view and print a map of the specified area that is overlaid on an orthophoto backdrop; access and view soil data for the area and determine its suitability for a particular use; and download soil attribute data for gis use from the Soil Data Mart.