Soil Science Australia recommends the application of national standards that establish the technical criteria, methods, processes and practices that are essential for communication, training, education, accreditation and good professional practice.

The following national  standards provide information and guidelines for soil description, classification, characterization, interpretation and use. Links are provided to the standards where they can be purchased, viewed or downloaded.

Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook (the “Yellow Book”) 

This handbook specifies methods and terminology for soil and land surveys. It provides a reference set of definitions and coding for the characterisation of landform, vegetation, land surface, soil and substrate.

This handbook is currently under revision, and a new edition is expected to be published in 2022.

Link to CSIRO Publishing: Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook

Australian Soil Classification (third edition)

The Australian Soil Classification provides a framework for organising knowledge about Australian soils by allocating soils to classes via a key. Since its publication in 1996, this book has been widely adopted and formally endorsed as the official national system. This new edition accommodates new knowledge and understanding of the significance, nature, distribution and refined testing for soils comprising deep sands, leading to the inclusion of a new Order, the Arenosols. 

Link to CSIRO Publishing: Australian Soil Classification

Link to online web key: Australian Soil Classification web key

Guidelines for Surveying Soil and Land Resources (the “Blue book”) 

This publication promotes the development and implementation of consistent methods and standards for conducting soil and land resource surveys in Australia. These surveys are primarily field operations that aim to identify, describe, map and evaluate the various kinds of soil or land resources in specific areas.

Link to CSIRO Publishing: Guidelines for Surveying Soil and Land Resources

Soil Chemical Methods – Australasia (the “Green Book”) 

This laboratory and field handbook describes over 200 laboratory and field chemical tests relevant to Australasia and beyond. The information and methodology provided across 20 chapters is comprehensive, systematic, uniquely coded, up-to-date and designed to promote chemical measurement quality. There is guidance on the choice and application of analytical methods from soil sampling through to the reporting of results. 

Link to CSIRO Publishing: Soil Chemical Methods – Australasia

Soil Physical Measurement and Interpretation for Land Evaluation.

Soil physical measurements are essential for solving many natural resource management problems. This operational laboratory and field handbook provides, for the first time, a standard set of methods that are cost-effective and well suited to land resource survey.

Link to CSIRO Publishing: Soil Physical Measurement and Interpretation for Land Evaluation

National Acid Sulfate Soil Guidance

Acid sulfate soil is the common term for soil which contains chemical compounds known as metal sulfides. Soil containing metal sulfides is usually not a concern when it remains undisturbed or covered by water, but if it is exposed to air it can pose a risk to water quality.

Use this guidance to help you understand and manage the effect of acid sulfate soils on water quality in Australia.

National Acid Sulfate Soil Guidance

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