Pedology Committee

The Pedology Committee of the Canadian Society of Soil Science (CSSS) was established in 2005.

The Committee has three mandates:

  1. Improvement of the taxonomic classification system for Canadian soils through revision of the system supported by new information.
  2. Maintenance of contact with the international pedological community on new developments in soil genesis and classification.
  3. Compilation and dissemination of information about the genesis, distribution, classification and wise use of Canadian soils.

The major projects of the Pedology Committee are:

Moving Towards a 4th Edition of the Canadian System of Soil Classification

The developers of the Canadian System of Soil Classification (CSSC) clearly stated that the system would need to undergo continual revision as our knowledge of soils improves. The Pedology Committee will be spearheading the drive to revise elements of the CSSC with a goal of producing a 4th edition. To date, the specific areas under consideration for revision include the inclusion of an order for human-disturbed soils, improved descriptions of A horizons and LFH horizons, and revisions to horizon nomenclature – especially around soils with deposition of secondary salts. Under the direction of the Classification Working Group, a new process for review and revision will be established. Venues for review will include discussion (at workshops and via online forums) and the sharing and vetting of proposed changes through peer-reviewed publication in the Canadian Journal of Soil Science.

Predictive Digital Soil Mapping

Predictive Digital Soil Mapping (PDSM) is a fast-evolving discipline garnering attention from soil scientists and pedologists around the world. The Pedology Committee supports the advancement of PDSM in Canada in a number of ways:

  1. Canadian Digital Soil Mapping Working Group (CDSMWG)
  2. Support and facilitation of training in PDSM

The CDSMWG was initiated in 2016 after an inaugural meeting in Quebec City, and was endorsed by the Pedology Committee at the CSSS Annual Meeting in 2016. More information about the CDSMWG can be found on the Soils of Canada website. To date, the CDSMWG has delivered on 2 key initiatives. The first was the organization and funding for a 3-day intensive training session in PDSM hosted by Simon Fraser University and delivered by international experts, Alex McBratney, Budiman Minasny and Brendan Malone. The workshop provided advanced training in PDSM techniques and served as a springboard for many of today’s PDSM practitioners in Canada.

The second initiative was the completion of the Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) Map of Canada. In response to a call from the UN-Food and Agriculture Program for countries to contribute to a new global soil organic carbon map, the CDSMWG agreed to take the lead in the preparation and delivery of the Canadian contribution to this global initiative. The CDSMWG successfully submitted a SOC map for Canada in 2017 for the 0-30cm depth interval with contributions from researchers and organisations from across the country. The CDSMWG endeavors to continue improvements to the SOC map of Canada and expand the mapping to include other critical soil parameters.

The Pedology Committee is also proposing to support PDSM through the development of annual in-person training workshops for delivery at CSSS meetings and online training opportunities to build capacity nationally. Any training material or data developed through these initiatives would be made available through the Soils of Canada website or CSSS website.

Annual Soil/Pedology Tours

Field tours are a great way to learn about soils and to spend time with colleagues new and old in a less formal environment. Soil tours at the annual CSSS national conference are a longstanding tradition that the Pedology Committee continues to support.

The Soils of Canada website (

The website was launched in early 2009 as a major source of information about Canadian soils and their classification. It was intended as a resource for university students, and contains a photo gallery and a discussion forum to facilitate the exchange of information on topics of interest to pedologists in Canada.

Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science on the Soils of Canada

There has long been a need for an up-to-date compilation of information about the genesis and classification of soil orders found in Canada. In 2009, the Pedology Committee initiated a project to publish a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science with individual chapters by eminent authors on each of the soil orders found in the Canadian System of Soil Classification. This serves as a readily-accessed textbook for soil genesis and classification in Canada. The special issue was published in October 2011 and is open access through Canadian Science Publishing. The editors of the special edition were Dan Pennock (U. of Saskatchewan), Lito Arocena (UNBC), and Scott Smith (AAFC).

Membership in the Pedology Committee is open to any interested pedologist. For more information contact:

Dr. Brandon Heung (Secretary)

Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (University Co-Chair)

Daniel Saurette (Government Co-Chair)
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