Outcomes of applying a geopedologic approach to soil survey in Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Applicability; Geostatistics; Pedodiversity; Similarity index; Soil-landscape relationships

2 Soil Science Department, College of Agriculture, Vali-e-Asr University of Rafsanjan, Rafsanjan, Iran


The paper reviews a set of soil surveys carried out in Iran using a geopedologic approach for different surveying aims in different scales. Most of these studies have implemented a similar survey method including the following steps: delineation of landforms from air photos using geomorphic and soil-landscape relationships, field check of the delineations, sample areas inventory with soils classified at the family level (USDA Soil Taxonomy), and extrapolation of the soil patterns from sample areas to the whole survey perimeter. The objectives of the paper was first to assess the accuracy and precision of this method via comparing the pedodiversity and similarity indices. Second, to find out at what level of detail or scale the geopedologic survey provides reliable information for extrapolation from visited to unvisited landscape units. The results in all types of analyses showed that differences between distribution of soil types and variables in training and extrapolation units of any landform increases with increasing scale and descending taxonomic and geomorphic categories. Therefore, it is proposed that the geopedologic soil surveys to be used not more intensive than semi-detail scales. It is concluded that the geopedologic approach is a suitable method for preparing proper foundation for pedometrics methods in all scales to study the basic and applied aspects of pedology.


Alijani, Z., F. Sarmadian, S. Musavi, 2013. Comparison of Traditional and geopedologic soil surveys; a case study in Kuhin, Iran. Iranian Natural Resources Journal, 67 (1); 93-102.
Bray, J.R., J.T. Curtis, 1957. An ordination of the upland forest communities of Southern Wisconsin. Ecological Monographies, 27; 325-349.
Chao, A., R.L. Chazdon, R.K. Colwell, T.J. Shen, 2005. A new statistical approach for assessing similarity of species composition with incidence and abundance data. Ecology Letters, 8; 148-159.
Esfandiarpoor, I., M.H. Salehi, N. Toomanian, J. Mohammadi, 2009a. The Effect of Location of sample Area and Expert Knowledge on the Results of Geopedological Approach in Soil Mapping. Journal of Soil and Water Sciences, 49; 113-147.
Esfandiarpoor, I., N. Toomanian, M.H. Salehi, J. Mohammadi, 2009b. Assessing Geopedological Soil Mapping Results Using Diversity and Similarity Indices: A Case Study: Borujen Area, Chaharmahal-Va-Bakhtiari Province. Journal of Soil and Water (Science and Agricultural Industries Journal of Ferdossi Mashhad University), 23; 100-114.
Esfandiarpoor, I., N. Toomanian, M.H. Salehi, J. Mohammadi, R.M. Poch, 2009c. The effect of survey density on the results of geopedological approach in soil mapping: A case study in the Borujen region, Central Iran. Catena, 79; 18-26.
Esfandiarpoor, I., J. Mohammadi, M.H. Salehi, N. Toomanian, R.M. Poch, 2010. Assessing Geopedological Soil Mapping Results by Statistical and Geostatistical Methods:  A Case Study in the Borujen Region, Central Iran". Catena, 82; 1-14.
Grotzinger, J., T. Jordan, F. Press, R. Siever, 2007. Understanding Earth (5th ed.), W.H. Freeman and Co., New York.
Hotelling, H., 1931. The generalization of Student's ratio. Annals of Mathematical Statistics, 2; 360-378.
Ibanez, J.J., S. De-Alba, F.F. Bermudez, A. Garcia-Alvarez, 1995. Pedodiversity: concepts and measures. Catena, 24; 215-232.
Jongman, R.H.G., C.J.F. ter Braak, O.F.R. van Tongeren, 1987. Data Analysis in Community and Landscape Ecology, (Pudoc, Wageningen).
Journel, A.G., C.H. Huijbregts, 1978. Minng Geostatistics. Academic Press, New York.
Levene, H., 1960. Robust tests for equality of variance. In: Olkin I., Ghurye S.G., Hoeffding W., Madow W.G., Mann H.B., editors. Contributions to Probability and Statistics. Stanford University Press, California, USA, p. 278-292.
Krebs, C.J., 1999. Ecological Methodology, 2nd ed. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc
Manly, B.F.J., 2004. Multivariate Statistical Methods: A primer (3rd ed.). Chapman and Hall/CRC, London, p. 215.
McBratney, A.B., 1992. On variation, uncertainty and informatics in environmental soil management. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 30; 913-935.
McBratney, A.B., 1995. Pedodiversity. Newsletter of International Society of Soil Science working group on Pedometrics. Pedometron, 3; 1-3.
McBratney, A.B., B. Minasny, 2007. On measuring pedodiversity. Geoderma, 141; 149-154.
McMillan, R.A., T.C. Martin, T.J. Earle, D.H. McNabb, 2003. Automated analysis and classification of landforms using high-resolution digital elevation data: Applications and Issues. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 29; 592-606.
Meyer, A.D.S., A.A.F. Garcia, A.P.D. Souza, 2004. Comparison of similarity coefficient used for cluster analysis with dominant markers in maize. Genetics and Molecular Biology, 27 (1); 83-91.
Moameni, A., 1999. Soil quality changes under long term wheat cultivation in the Marvdasht plain, south-central Iran [Ph.D. dissertation] Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, 284 p.
Mohammadi, J., 2006. Pedometrics. I: Classical Statistics. Pelk Publication, Tehran, Iran.
Phillips, J.D., 1996. Deterministic complexity, explanation, and predictability in geomorphic systems. In: Bruce L. Roads and Colin E. Thorn (ed) The scientific nature of geomorphology: Proceedings of the 27th Binghamton symposium in geomorphology held, 27-29 September, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Phillips, J.D., 1998. On the relation between complex systems and the factorial model of soil formation (with discussion). Geoderma, 86; 1- 42.
Phillips, J.D., 2006. Evolutionary geomorphology: thresholds and nonlinearity in landform response to environmental change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 10; 731-742.
Phillips, J.D., D. Marion, 2007. Soil geomorphologic classification, soil taxonomy and effects on soil richness assessments. Geoderma, 141; 89-97.
Rowentree, K.M., R.A. Wadeson, J. O’Keeffe, 2000. The development of a geomorphological classification system for the Longitudinal Zonation of South African Rivers. South African Geographical Journal, 82; 163-172.
Salehi, M.H., Z. Safaei, I. Estendierpour-Borujeni, J. Mohemmedi, 2013. Generalisation of continuous models to estimate soil characteristics into similar delineations of a detailed soil map CSIRO Publishing. Soil Research, 51;350-361.
Soil Survey Staff, 1993. Soil Survey Manual. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Handbook No. 18.  U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
Toomanian, N., A. Jalalian, H. Khademi, M.K. Eghbal, A. Papritz, 2006. Pedodiversity and pedogenesis in Zayandeh-rudValley, Central Iran. Geomorphology, 81; 376-393.
Toomanian, N., I. Esfandiarpoor-Borujeni, 2012. Challenges of Pedodiversity in Soil Science. Eurasian Soil Science, 43 (13); 1486-1502.
Toomanian, N., 2013. Pedodiversity and Landforms. In: Ibanez J.J., Bockheim J., editors. Pedodiversity. Taylor and Francis Publication, 250 p.
Trangmar, B.B., R.S. Yost, G. Uehara, 1985. Application of geostatistics to Spatial Studies of soil properties. Advances in Agronomy, 38; 45-93.
Webster, R., M.A. Oliver, 1990. Statistical Methods in Soil and Land Resource Survey. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.
Zinck, J.A., 1989. Physiography and soils. Lecture-notes for soil students. Soil Science Division. Soil survey courses subject matter: K6 ITC, Enschede, The Netherlands.