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Soils of Guam

From Soil Testing

Simplified Key For Identification of Guam Soils by Peter Motavalli and Ken Monroe

Welcome to the website that will help you identify soils on the island of Guam. A knowledge of the type of soil you have will help you understand its physical and chemical properties and how best to manage your soil. For example, the University of Guam Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory can make better recommendations for the amount of nutrient amendments or fertilizer to apply to your soil when your soil has been identified. Soil has many functions including as a medium for plant growth, as an engineering material, and as an important component of our natural environment.

Guam has a diversity of soils that have developed over time. The factors that affect soil formation include the original parent material from which the soil was derived, the climate, topography, the type of vegetation and organisms, and the amount of time the soil has been forming. Most of the soils of Guam were either developed in limestone, in volcanic rock, or in bottomland or coastal deposits.

In an effort to describe and classify the different soils that exist in the environment, soil scientists have developed several systems of soil classification. The most common system of soil classification in the United States is a system called Soil Taxonomy. The primary key to classifying soils in this system is identification of diagnostic features in the soil layers. These key features are called diagnostic horizons. Soils are subsequently classified into (from most general to specific) soil orders, suborders, great groups, subgroup, family, and series. Guam has 17 soil series that have been identified. Each series is identified by a unique place name often based on the geographic location from which the soil was first identified. For example, the Inarajan soil was first identified in the general location of the village of Inarajan.

Further detailed information regarding the soils of Guam can be found in the 1988 U.S. Department of Agriculture publication "Soil Survey of the Territory of Guam". This publication can be obtained from your local office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and contains detailed descriptions, classification, potential uses and maps of the soils on Guam. For additional information contact your local offices of the Natural Resources Conservation Service or the Guam Cooperative Extension Service in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Guam.

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