Soil resources surveys for forestry: Soil, terrain and site mapping in boreal and temperate forests

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    SOIL RESOURCES SURVEYS Soil Resources Surveys for Forestry: Soil, Terrain and Site Mapping in Boreal

    and Temperate Forests. K.W.G. Valentine. Oxford Science Publications, Monographs on Soil and Resources Surveys no. 10. Clarendon Press, Ox- ford, 1986. 147 pp. hardcover. 25.00. ISBN 0-19-854570-3.

    The writers of applied science textbooks walk a thin line between the theory and practice. Valentine, in his compact volume, has dealt with it very well, producing a good balance.

    There is sufficient theoretical t reatment of the subject to give the reader confidence that he is being presented with a competent and unbiased coverage, and that he is left with the option of choosing the approach that is most rele- vant to his task. The book is no mere 'how to do it yourself ' manual giving just one solution.

    On the other hand, one is not overwhelmed with theories and left orphaned to find one's own way in applying them. For each stage of the survey process there are a number of case histories on how the task was tackled on several continents. This is useful in choosing the best approach, by utilizing the ex- perience of others. There are also brief descriptions of the steps involved in carrying out a particular task. This would be especially useful to the many foresters who find themselves carrying out soil and site surveys in the early stages of their careers, though not adequately trained for it by their broad for- estry education. The coverage of the survey process is complete, from the ini- tial planning to the production of maps and reports. It is up to date in that it also covers the use of computers in soil mapping.

    There is an equally helpful chapter for soil scientists who find themselves working for forestry services - - it gives a broad outline of forest management and where soil surveys fit within it. This is supported by a review of the eco- nomic aspects of surveys; that is, how much it is likely to cost to complete a survey of given magnitude and detail, and whether such a level expenditure is appropiate to the use to which the product (map, report) will be put.

    The book is an economic and unpretentious treatise. Its limitations, such as lack of coverage of tropical forests and inadequate coverage of eastern Euro- pean ideas and techniques, are plainly stated. There is no padding, and much of the information is conveyed by means of well set out tables and diagrams. My only wish is that such a book had come on the market at the beginning rather than the end of my career.

    J.J. HAVEL 1327 Wanneroo Rd.,

    Wanneroo 6065, Western Australia


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