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These e-courses introduce the European soil types according to the World Reference Base for soil resources. WRB is a two-level system of soil classification with 30 Soil Reference Groups and a series of uniquely defined qualifiers for specific soil characteristics.

For describing and defining soils the WRB exploits the following nomenclature:

  • soil characteristics comprise single observable or measured parameters;
  • soil properties are a combination of characteristics indicating soil-forming processes;
  • soil horizons represent three-dimensional bodies containing one or more soil properties


SOIL ATLAS OF EUROPE, JRC, European Comission, 2005