Chinese Soil Taxonomy (CST) is a most recent taxonomic soil classification of China after a long history of related researches from ancient to modern times and peculiarized with several main points concerning Anthrosols, Aridisols, Ferralisols, Alpine soils, its nomenclature, and mapping. CST can be correlated to the worldwide popular systems like Soil Taxonomy and WRB.

Soil classification in Modern China can be subdivided into three main stages, 1) In the 1930's the concept of soil great groups was adopted and more than 2000 soil series were established by combining C.F. Marbut's system with Chinese practice; 2) In 1954, a Chinese soil classification was formed by following the Russian system, that was further developed throughout the first National General Soil Survey (1958-1961), modified in 1978 and then accepted widely as the official system used inthe Second Soil Survey (1979-1994); 3) With the increasing international exchanges, Soil Taxonomy and FAO/UNESCO Soil Map Legend were introduced into China since the 1980s. A Research Group of 35 universities and institutions led by ISSAS step by step, worked out a soil taxonomic classification of China. Chinese Soil Taxonomy.


Based on anthropogenic horizons as an anthrostagnic epipedon and hydragric horizon, a fimic epipedon and phos-agric horizon, and a irrgric epipedon or cumulic epipedon, Anthrosols are grouped into Stagnic Anthrosols, Fimic Anthrosols, Cumulic Anthrosols, and Irrgric Anthrosols.

Aridisols are classified by the aridic epipedon and one or more of the following diagnostic horizons: salic, hypersalic, salipan, gypsic, hypergypsic, calcic, hypercalcic, calcicpan, argic, or cambic horizon whose upper boundaries are within 100 cm of the mineral soil surface.

In tropical and subtropical China we have Ferrosols based on LAC-ferric subhorizon which has lower activity, clays, and rich in free iron oxides [CEC7 1624 cmol (+)kg- 1; free iron/total iron >40%] with a total area of 2 million km 2.

Alpine Soils
Tibet area is called the third polar, which is cold and dry. The soils there are classified as Cryic Aridsols that have a cryic soil temperature regime and Gelic Cambosols that have a cryic or cloder soil temperature regime, and that have frost-thawic features.

Similar to Soil Taxonomy, we have adopted the principle of a segmental-continuous name. The first segment includes Order, Suborder, Group, and Subgroup. The Family name provides additional information on particle size class, mineral composition, and soil temperature regime. The Series is a second segment named independently.

Source: Zitong Gong. 2002. Classification, Chinese. In: Encyclopedia of Soil Science. Available at (verified 20 August 2004).