Soils remain the foundation of virtually every natural terrestrial system on the planet. They are an integral part of the ecosystem. Soil scientists of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service are studying the connections between mineral, soil, vegetation, climate and animal life in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Remote Sensing has assisted the scientists in their study. They are completing fieldwork for an ambitious soil survey of the 500,000-acre national park that has been seven years in the making.
The work entailed the extraction of soil profiles known as “monoliths,” from a variety of locations throughout the Park. In other cases, scientists used “remote sensing” to deduce what likely soil types would be located in a particular area. The project has mapped 20 new series of soils “exclusive to the Park”. The various soil series will be mapped, and digitized so they can be used with, for instance, Park vegetation maps.