A soil inventory is a snapshot in time of the condition and status of soil resources within parks. The objective of each soil inventory is to gain a better understanding of how soils contribute to the richness and character of the National Parks in Alaska by identifying soil types and describing their distribution within parks. The NPS Alaska Region Inventory Program takes advantage of two methodologies to conduct soils inventories â€“ NRCS Soil Surveys conducted by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and contractor-performed â€œSoil Landscapeâ€� mapping projects. Information from soil inventories can be used in resource management activities, interpretation of park resources, and in general help improve our understanding of park ecological processes.
Status - 84% Complete – To date, approximately 46 million acres (84%) of Alaska parklands have completed Soils Inventories. NPS Soils Inventories in Alaska are expected to be complete by the end of calendar year 2015.
Two methods are used to inventory soils in Alaska National parks. Soil/Ecological Site Inventories are conducted through an Interagency Agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) using published standards and procedures of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NRCS, 2009). Additionally, contractor provided "Soil Landscape" products provide classifications for soils derived from Ecological Land Surveys (ELS) using a combined set of ecological state factor relationships (e.g., vegetation, hydrology, geomorphology, topography, climate, time, and disturbance), field plot data analysis, and the use of satellite image processing techniques.