Soil formation processes
Soil is a fascinating and often overlooked (figuratively but also literally in many instances) component of the landscape. Apart from its intrinsic value and interest as part of the natural environment, soil also plays a vital role in human life, providing the basis for agriculture and forestry on which countries such as New Zealand so heavily depend. The dynamic physical environment in New Zealand, combined with a varied geological and climatological past, has produced a wonderful array of soils: from the acidic, impoverished soils of the Northland kauri forests, to the weathered but rich volcanic soils of the Banks and Otago Peninsulas, to the saline soils that dot the Maniototo plain in Central Otago. In this chapter the main processes that influence the form and character of soils are described and an overview of the major New Zealand soil types is presented.