March 2004 Meeting

Monday, March 8, 2004
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
Lamar Alexander Building
Room 223


Soil Resource Inventory of the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Overview and Design

Dillon Gray & Anthony Khiel
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Sevierville, Tennessee 37862


The Soil Resources Inventory (SRI) of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) is a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Park Service (NPS), University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and North Carolina State University. Field work was started in the fall of 1998 and the project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2007. The SRI will provide researchers, scientists, and resource managers of the NPS with a powerful use and management tool that will aid them in efficient and effective study and conservation of the diverse ecosystems of the GSMNP.

The SRI is designed to provide data and analysis regarding the relationship of soils to rare and unique habitats, vegetative vigor and productivity, and environmental hazard risks. The project will be compiled into a GIS soils data layer, which can then be used in conjunction with other GIS data layers to provide a more complete data set for research, inventorying, and monitoring.

Due to the remote and rugged landscapes that cover most of the GSMNP, remote sensing techniques must be used. Soil/landscape relationship models have been developed using geology and landscape position as a basis. On-site observations are used to improve and verify the models. Once verified, the soil-landscape model can be applied to delineate boundaries between different soil map units. It must be noted that the boundaries between soil map units are not always abrupt, hard lines. Map units are developed around a central concept that is determined from field observation. Inclusions, similar and dissimilar, that fall outside the central concept are also described from recorded field observations. The main concerns in developing the SRI methodology are land use interpretation and management.


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