THE ROLE OF SOIL SCIENCE IN LAND EVALUATION
Departamento de Edafología y Química Agrícola. Facultad de Ciencias.
Campus Fuentenueva. Universidad de Granada. Spain.
A review has been made on the concepts and the methodology of land evaluation. The results of several evaluation methods have been compared, applying them to a selection of diverse soils. Although the studies on land evaluation have been conducted on a broad diversity of characteristics—not only physical but also social, economic and political—in practice, it is frequent to limit such studies to the physical medium, given the heterogeneity of these projects. Land evaluation requires a team of multidisciplinary evaluators. The difficulty of forming these teams makes it common for such studies on land evaluation to be reduced to the analysis of the physical medium of the soil, creating a certain confusion. Therefore, we propose using the term “soil evaluation” for the assessment of the soil properties as a phase prior to land evaluation, considering soil properties in their broader sense, both the intrinsic ones (those of the soil itself: depth, texture, etc.) as well as the extrinsic ones (the soil surface: topography, climate, hydrology, vegetation, use, etc.). Soil evaluation would be similar to what today is understood as land evaluation, but excluding all the social, economic and political characteristics which would be covered under the concept of “land evaluation.”