ASRIS (Australian Soil Resource Information System) The Australian Soil Classification Online (2nd Ed.) [open in a new window]
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The Australian Soil Classification

The Australian Soil Classification serves as a framework for organising knowledge about Australian soils and provides a means of communication amongst scientists and those who use the land. It is useful for those involved in environmental studies and for teachers of soil science. The Australian Soil Conservation Council formally endorsed the new classification in 1992 and recommended its adoption by all States and Territories and its use in all future Federally funded land resource inventory and research programs.

Since its publication in 1996, the Australian Soil Classification has been widely adopted and formally endorsed as the official national system. Responsibility for maintenance and updating now resides with the National Committee on Soil and Terrain.

The Second Edition (Isbell and NCST) was released on 18th January 2016.

The following publications are related to the Australian Soil Classification:


The Australian Soil Classification (2nd Edition) 2016

Aust Soil CThe Second Edition of the Australian Soil Classification (Isbell and NCST 2016) is now available from CSIRO Publishing. It includes updates from the National Committee on Soil and Terrain (NCST), especially in regards to new knowledge about acid sulfate soils (sulfidic materials). Modifications include expanding the classification to incorporate different kinds of sulfidic materials, the introduction of subaqueous soils as well as new Vertosol subgroups, new Hydrosol family criteria and the consistent use of the term reticulate. All soil orders except for Ferrosols and Sodosols are affected by the changes.

The Australian Soil Classification (Revised 1st Edition) 2002

Aust Soil CThe Revised Edition of the Australian Soil Classification (Isbell 2002) included changes to the Tenosol soil order which substantially improved the utility of the system in southern and western parts of the continent. Minor sections were updated to reflect changes since the original publication in 1996.

Concepts and Rationale of the Australian Soil Classification

ConceptsThe Concepts and Rationale of The Australian Soil Classification is a publication designed to be read in conjunction with the "The Australian Soil Classification" (Isbell 2002). It elaborates on many of the diagnostic horizons and materials given in the glossary of the classification and gives the rationale for the establishment of various classes and diagnostic criteria. The book also gives an overview of the general features of the new orders with individual distribution maps showing their occurrence in Australia. The Concepts and Rationale of The Australian Soil Classification is currently available from CSIRO Publishing.

The Australian Soil Classification (Revised 1st Edition) - An Interactive Key

asc_keyThe Australian Soil Classification - An Interactive Key allocates soil profiles to every level within the official Australian Soil Classification. The Key uses the latest allocation and information retrieval software developed by the Delta Team at CSIRO.

The interactive system allows individuals without specialist knowledge to reliably allocate soils to classes whilst providing an understanding of the diversity of Australian soils through soil profile and related feature illustrations and supporting text. This is a rapid learning tool and gives an excellent understanding of how the Australian Soil Classification operates. An advantage of the Interactive Key is the capacity to identify soil classes when field and laboratory data are incomplete. The system allows for uncertainties and mistakes during the allocation process. The Interactive Key includes access to an abridged digital version of the Australian Soil Classification.

Manual 4
Screen shot of the Interactive Key


The authors of the Interactive Key have a wealth of experience in land resource survey, soil classification and the development of taxonomic software. The Working Group on Land Resource Assessment, with representatives from State, Territory and Commonwealth agencies, has formally endorsed the Interactive Key. The Interactive Key will be of great value to soil scientists, Landcare advisors, agronomists, environmental consultants, ecologists, foresters, geomorphologists, land use planners and catchment managers. The Interactive Key is ideal for teaching and it will be invaluable for Tertiary and upper-level Secondary training in the natural resource sciences.


Manual 2
The Interactive Key contains over 200 images


The Australian Soil Classification (Revised 1st Edition) - An Interactive Key is available as a free download (100MB). The Open Delta software (Version 1.0) that runs the Interactive Key is available as a free download. The Interactive Key is compatible with Windows 8 and earlier windows versions.


Australian Soil Poster

Aust Soil posterThe ACLEP team and collaborating agencies have produced a poster representing the most commonly occurring soils in Australia. Flat copies of the poster are available from CSIRO Publishing.

Download the PDF of the poster (PDF - 2.3 MB).

All of our publications can be purchased at CSIRO Publishing:

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