National Committee on Soil and Terrain

The National Committee for Soil and Terrain (NCST) is a collaborative committee comprising Australian and State government agencies with a lead role in soil and land resource assessment and reporting. It is a Standing Committee for the Australian Soil Network (ASN – the implementation committee for the National Soil RD&E Strategy) and advises the Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN) Landscapes activity.

An overarching goal of the NCST is to improve access to and quality of land resource information to help secure the nation’s soils and landscapes for productive and profitable industries, healthy ecosystems and sustainable communities.

The NCST oversees three important technical working groups supporting critical needs for land and soil assessment in Australia

  • The Digital Soil Mapping group
  • The Australian Soil Classification group, and
  • The Review and update of the Australian Land and Soil Survey Field Handbook.



Terms of Reference 

Strategic Plan 2020-2025


Soils Data, Maps and Information Sources

The Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook Working Group

The Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook (ASLSFH), or “Yellow Book”, as it is often referred, is the guide to soil and landscape survey in Australia. It contains the terms and methods used in the description of Australian soils and landscapes.

The ASLSFH Working Group, established under the National Committee on Soil Terrain (NCST), is responsible for maintaining the currency of the ASLSFH. The group comprises a representative from each state, a member of the Australian Soil Classification Working Group and a representative of educational institutions.

The ASLSFH Working Group also works with the Soil Science Australia (SSA) Soil Judging Competition to ensure that the national standards of soil and landscape survey applied consistently. The Working Group is considering a number of revisions to the current Third Edition of the Yellow Book and the Soil judging Competition is a key forum for such discussions.

If you have an issue or question you would like to raise please contact the Chair of the ASLSFH Working Group or your state representative.

State/territory Name email Agency/Organisation
NSW David Morand Office of Environment and Heritage
NT Jon Burgess Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources
QLD Andrew Biggs (Chair) Dept. of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
SA Brian Hughes Rural Solutions / PIRSA
TAS Darren Kidd Dept. of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
VIC David Rees Dept. of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
WA Tim Overheu (NCST contact) Dept. Primary Industries & Regional Development
Academia Stephen Cattle University of Sydney
ASC WG Noel Schoknecht Retired

Soil Science Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future.