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Cropped L.^ND

(Acres and percentage given.)



Slope Class
and Range
in Percent



None
.Apparent



Slitilit



Moderate Severe



Total



A (0-3) Acres 92.8 1154.5 8.0 0.0 1255.3

Percent 7. A 92.0 0.6 0.0 100.0

B (3-8) Acres 1.9 1299.4 62.0 0.0 1363.3

Percent 0.1 95.3 4-6 0.0 100.0

BB (8-15) Acres 0.0 678.9 205.1 0.5 884.5

Percent 0.0 76.8 23.2 (1) 100.0

e (15-25) Acres 0.0 42.5 88.7 2.1 133.3

Percent 0.0 31.8 66.6 1.6 100.0

D (25+) Acres 0.0 6.7 30.3 0.4 37.4

Percent 0.0 17.8 81.1 1.1 100.0

Total area Acres 94.7 3182.0 394.1 3.0 3673.8

Percent 2.6 86.6 10.7 0.1 100.0



(1) Less than 0.1 percent.



LAND TYPES OF MASSACHUSETTS 7

The relationship of erosion to land use is shown by tables 3 and 4. With
the exception of the idle land, the acreage of which was so small as to
throw doubt on the value of deductions based on it, the percentages of
the land-use classes in the erosion classes are fairly uniform (table 3).
Cropland had the lowest percentage showing no erosion, slightly more
than pasture and woodland showing slight erosion, and next to the least
amount of severe erosion. Severe erosion was percentually very small in
all classes. Moderate erosion was most abundant on pasture land.

It is difficult to interpret erosion in this area in terms of land use
because of marked and continuous changes in land use since 1880. Much
land now in permanent pasture or woodland was previously cropped.
Soils activeh' eroded at the peak of agricultural development have in
many cases become stabilized by grass or forest cover, but the evidence
of erosion still exists. This doubtless accounts largely for the uniformity
of the figures under the different types of land use. Also, since erosion
has been, and is, only slight to moderate, as a factor determining land use
it was outweighed by the more significant factors of slope and stoniness;
or at least these factors were apparently considered more significant by
the farmer.

In the survey, sheet erosion was found to be by far the most common
and extensive type. Occasional gully erosion was mapped on 17.9 acres,
or 0.13 percent of the area. For practical, interpretative purposes, this
class was thrown in with moderate erosion in this study. The damage
caused by sheet erosion is less obvious to the average farmer than is that
line to gullying, and can to some extent be counteracted by a generous
use of soil supplements. These facts probably account to a considerable
degree for the apparent unimportance of erosion as a factor influencing
land use.

Table 5. Distribution of Erosion Classes in Each Slope Class.
(Acres and percentage given.)



Slope Class
and Range
in Percent



None
Apparent



Erosion



Slight



Moderate Severe



Total



A (0-3) Acres

Percent

B (3-8) Acres

Percent

BB (8-15) Acres

Percent

C (15-25) Acres

Percent

D (25 + ) Acres

Percent

Total area Acres

Percent



489.0

13.8

12.4

0.3

2.8
0.1

0.4
(1)
0.0

0.0



3043.5
86.0

4570.9
96.6

2899.1
82.7
513.2
51.2
66.9
15.5



8.3
0.2

148.3
3.1

602.0
17.2

482.5
^8.1

352.5
81.7



504.6 11093.6 1593.6
3.8 84:0 12.1



0.0
0.0

0.0
0.0

0.6
(1)
6.7
0.7
12.0
2.8

19.3
0.1



3540.8
100.0

4731.6
100.0

3504.5
100.0

1002.8
100.0

431.4
100.0

13211.1
100.0



(1) Less than 0.1 percent.



8 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 385

Interrelationships Between Certain Land Characteristics

Slope and Erosion. — More striking than the relation between erosion and
land use is that shown between the degree of erosion and slope of land.
Table 5 shows that there was definite and continuous increase in the
severity of erosion with the increase in steepness of slope, excepting the
first two classes of erosion on B slopes. On A slopes 99.8 percent of the
total land, and on B slopes 96.9 percent had no erosion or slight erosion.
C slopes were about evenly divided between no or slight erosion on the
one hand and moderate or severe erosion on the other. On D slopes 84.5
percent of the land had moderate or severe erosion.

Soil Type and Erosion. — The data of the survey were not sufficient to permit
a study of the soil type as a factor in erosion. The next unit of classifica-
tion above the type is the series. Table 6 shows the distribution of erosion
in certain soil series. It is to be noted that, with the exception of the
Hinckley series, the erosion mapped was almost wholly slight or moderate
with little difference among series. With the small acreages represented
in all series except Gloucester, the figures should be considered indicative
rather than conclusive. The comparatively high percentages of moderate
and severe erosion of the Hinckley soils is in accordance with general
field observations. This series is characterized by rather siiarp slopes
and soil poorly adapted to grasses.

Table 6. Distribution of Erosion Classes in Certain Soil Series.
(Acres and percentage given.)



Soil Series








Erosion






















None














.\pljaient


Slight


Moderate


Severe


Total


Gloucester


Acres


11.1


3845.9


704.0


3.1


4564.1




Percent


0.2


84.3


15.4


0.1


100.0


Sutton


Acres


17.9


905.9


148.9


0.0


1072.7




Percent


1.7


84.4


13.9


0.0


100.0


Brookfield .......


Acres


0.0


640.1


63.4


0.6


704.1




Percent


0.0


90.9


9.0


0.1


100.0


Charlton


Acres


0.0


1122.3


87.1


0.0


1209.4




Percent


0.0


92.9


7.1


0.0


100.0


Merrimac


Acres


0.0


870.1


74.3


0.0


944.4




Percent


0.0


92.1


7.9


0.0


100.0


Hinckley


Acres


0.0


232.5


479.9


15.6


728.0




Percent


0.0


31.9


66.0


2.1


100.0



Additional Factors Affecting Land Use

Other natural factors important in determining land use are those affect-
ing soil moisture, and, to a less extent, the cheinical characteristics of the
soils. These factors are more or less definitely associated with soil type,
but there are also significant variations within the soil types. Factors



LAND TYPES OF MASSACHUSETTS 9

affecting soil moisture and chemical characteristics were not specifically
treated in the survey reported, but they will be discussed briefly here.

Most Hinckley soils are excessively drained and, therefore, are subject
to drouth. They are also low in native available plant food. Because of
these characteristics the use of Hinckley soils for agricultural use is
hazardous. Poorly drained soils have very limited agricultural use. Soils
of this nature having definite characteristics are given special series desig-
nations, such as VViiitmaii. (iloucester fine sandy loam generally has
medium moisture relations, being neither poorly nor excessively drained,
but there are exceptions to this.

Massachusetts soils have been developed under a cool, humid climate,
and are, therefore, generally deficient in available bases, particularly in
the upper layers. This is a characteristic which to some extent affects
land use but more generally affects the practice followed after the choice
of use has been made. It is generally necessary to add lime and fertilizer
supplements to Massachusetts soils for successful cropping. Some soils
require more of these supplements for a given crop than do others, and
there is also a difference in crops in their requirements for lime and
fertilizer.

Classification of Land for Use

There are many methods for the classification of land, and the objectives
in land classification are numerous and varied. Any method which ac-
complishes the purpose for which it was intended may be called good.
Agronomists and others interested in land use seek a method of land
classification which has practical application and is developed on a scien-
tific basis, but is not so technical as to require a trained technician for
its interpretation or application.

The classification of land according to soil type has received a wider
application in the United States than any other method which has had
agricultural use as its objective. Massachusetts has been entirely sur-
veyed as to soil type, and there is niuch valuable information regarding
soils and their use in the reports of the survey. These surveys have been
made at considerable cost to the State and Federal Governments. There-
fore, any method of land classification which can be based largely or
wholly on the soil survey has certain obvious advantages over others
which make little or no use of this survey.

In the past the fullest use possible has not been made of the information
supplied in the reports and the maps of the soil survey, by those without
special training in soil technology. This has been due partly to the lack
of technical training by those having need of the information, and partly
to the failure of those who wrote the reports to make the necessary inter-
pretation of their findings. Soils have recognizable morphological char-
acteristics which make it possible for a good soil surveyor to differentiate
types which, though perhaps highly significant from a pedological view-
point, have little or no significance from the standpoint of agricultural use.
Soils may well be subdivided in great detail for scientific purposes, and
then recombined into groups, or land types, for practical utility.

Possibly in the light of future research the significance of certain soil
characteristics not now understood may be discovered. Consider, for
example, the Gloucester and Brookfield soils. These series have very
similar characteristics related to topography, stoniness, erodibility, soil



10 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 385

moisture, and content of lime and the common plant nutrients. They
differ in color and the content of easily soluble iron, both of which are
due to differences in the parent rock material of the two series. These
series are at present used for the same types of farming with about equal
success. It is not thought that the color difference is or will be found to
be significant from the standpoint of use. The difference in content of
available iron may be significant, particularly from the standpoint of pro-
ducing crops of high iron content and therefore of greater therapeutic
value in preventing anemia in man or beast.

Natural Land Types

Of the many methods which have been proposed for classifying land for
use, one of the most useful and practicable is that based on the natural
land type.^ A natural land type is defined as a body of land having a
given set of physical, chemical and biological characteristics. In its sim-
plest form a land type may be identical with a soil type or a phase of a
soil type. It may, and usually does, comprise two or more soil types or
phases of them; it may even cut across soil types. It meets the need for
a unit of land which is broader than the soil type, is more restricted than
the soil group, and is capable of areal delineation. A good soil survey is
an excellent basis for a land-type classification, but it is not indispensable;
land types can be mapped directly in the field.

Natural land-type classification is being developed in connection with
county land-use planning work in Massachusetts. This classification is
essentially an interpretation of the soil survey in terms of land use. It
simplifies the soil surve}^ puts the valuable and extensive information
contained in it into a form which can be readily understood by those not
trained in soil technology, and reduces the number of land units to a
workable number. In Essex County 50 soil types were reduced to 13
land types. Soil types or their phases having closely similar natural char-
acteristics are grouped together to form land types. Provided no soil type
is divided between or among land types, the land-type map is as accurate
as the soil-type map from which it is made. In placing the soil types in
land-type categories it is usually necessary to supplement the information
given in the soil survey with some field work.

The land-type classification as developed in Massachusetts is useful
especially in large-scale, or area, land-use planning. The scale on which
the maps are made is 1:62,500 (approximately 1 inch to the mile), which is
the same as that of the soil-type map. This scale is not large enough for
detailed land-use planning on individual farms, but can be used with
facility for such large-scale planning as locating areas suitable for certain
types of farming, delineating areas unsuited to farming, and deterinining
or analyzing causes of problem areas. An example of a natural land-type
classification is that developed for Essex County, given in table 7.^ This
kind of land classification can be developed for each county of the State.
Rarely will the outline for any county be found entirely applicable to
another; each county must be considered individually.



''Beaumont, A.B. The natural land t.viie in land-use planning.

Southwest. See. Sci. Quart. 18 (3):231-234 (1937).

"This classification was developed with the assistance and cooperation of Francis C.
Smith, County Agricultural Agent, and Alton G. Perkins, Instructor in Soils, Essex County
Agricultural School.



LAND TYPES OF AfASSACHUSETTS 11

This classification is based in part on principles established by the study
of natural land characteristics reviewed above. The categories were
selected and defined so that information given in the soil survey reports
could be used to the best advantage. It will be noted that the major
groups are based on positional and topographic relationships, as uplands
and lowlands. Slope, stoniness, and drainage are given considerable
weight; and the several factors determining soil type such as profile ar-
rangement, texture, and content of organic matter are considered. The
non-agricultural group (E) is composed of all land types not suited to
agriculture for various reasons including rough topography, excessive
stoniness, and high susceptibility to drouth. This classification states the
types of farming, but not the specific crops, to which the land tj^pes are
adapted; and it broadly prescribes methods of soil conservation necessary.

Use Capabilities of Land

In planning land-use activities for individual Massachusetts farms a
scale much larger than that used in making the county soil maps is neces-
sary. The United States Soil Conservation Service has developed technics
for mapping farms and planning land use which are being applied effective-
ly in this State. The scale of 1 :7920 (8 inches to the mile) is being used.
First, a map is made showing soil type, physical characteristics of land,
and erosion. With this as a basis a second map showing recommended
practices of land use is then made.

As a further aid to land-use planning, the Soil Conservation Service has
developed a system of land classification based on land-use capabilities.
"Classes of land according to use capability are based on the physical
land factors together with their environment and expressed in terms of
the restrictions in use or practices and measures necessary for the most
intensive utilization that is consistent with the preservation of the soil
and its plant cover. Eight classes of land according to use capability are
now recognized. The classification is national in scope, designed to meet
the conditions throughout the country. . . . Seldom, if ever, will all eight
classes be represented in one area."^

For Massachusetts conditions six categories of this classification ajjpear
to be sufficient. They are as follows:

A. Suitable for cultivation

I. Without special conservation practices.

II. With simple conservation practices.

III. With complex or intensive conservation practices.

. IV. Suitable for occasional or limited cultivation.

B. Not suitable for cultivation.

Vg. Suitable for permanent grassland.
Vw. Suitable for woodland.

In order to show the applicability of this method of classification to
Massachusetts conditions the soil types of Essex County have been ar-
ranged according to their use capabilities, which are given in table 8.

^From Field Memorandum S.C.S. No. 848-B, Sept. 28, 1940.



12 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 385

Table 7. Natural Land Types of Essex County, Massachusetts

A. Uplands derivrrl from glacial till; topograiihy undulating to liill\'.

1. Soils of niediuiii texture, good drainage, and few stones; licst soils of A group.
Suitable mainly for general farming, dairying and orcharding; selected small areas
good for market gardening and small fruits. Sloi>es average abotit 6 per cent;
erosion control measures generally necessar.y; simjde measures such as striji cro]i-
ping and contour planting usually siiffioicnt ; some land too steep for successful
cultivation.

Gloucester loam

Gloucester fine sandy loam

Gloucester fine sandy loam, gravelly phase

Coloma loam

Coloma fine sandy loam

Charlton loam

Charlton loam, gravelly phase

Brookfield fine sandy loam

Hollis fine sandy loam

Woodbridge fine sandy loam

2. Same as A 1, except subsoils or substratum more compact; best suited to general
and dairy farming; in favorable cases also orcharding, small fruits and market
gardening. Slopes average about 4 l)er ccnl ; much of the area can be cultivated
without special erosion controls.

Woodbridge loam

Esse.x fine sandy loam

Esse.x fine .sandy loam, gravelly phase

Sutton loam

3. Same as A 1 or A 2 except containing enough stones or ledge to interfere with
cultivation; best suited to pasture or woods; also good for poultry raising. Slopes
average about S per cent ; strip-cropping and contour planting generally suffice for
erosion control on cultivated land; permanent pasture or woods most common.

Gloucester stony loam
Gloucester very stony loam
Gloucester stony fine sandy loam
Brookfield fine sandy loam, stony phase
Hollis fine sandy loam, stony |ihase
Woodbridge loam, stony phase
Woodbridge fine sandy loam, stony phase
Hinsdale stony fine sandy loam
Essex fine sandy loam, stony phase
Coloma fine sandy loam, stony phase

B. Land at intermediate levels, derived from terraces, glacial outwash material; topography
level to hummocky; drainage generally good to excessive.

1. Soils of medium texture; level to undulating; free from large stones; organic
matter and natm-al fertility low, slightly to somewhat subject to drouth; best
soils of B group; best suited to intensive farming, especially market gardening;
also good for poultry raising. Slopes of Merrimac soils average about 2 per cent;
mtich of this type Requires no special erosion control methods; slopes above 2
per cent require contour planting, strij) cropping, or terracing. Slopes of Wenham
soils average about 6 iier rent; terraces are generally necessary under intensive
cultivation. Winter cover crops are especially necessary on this type to check
losses by leaching.

Merrimac fine sandy loam

Merrimac loam

Wenham fine sandy loam

2. Same as B 1 except of coarser texture and more subject to drouth ; uses similar to
B 1. Slopes average about 2 per cent; no special erosion control methods neces-
sary on much of this type; cover crops especially necessary to check leaching
and supply organic matter.



LAND TYPES OF MASSACHUSETTS 13

Merrimac fine sandy loam, gravelly phase

Merrimac sandy loam

Merrimac sandy loam, gravelly phase

3. Soils of medium to coarse texture, hummocky topography, and excessive drainage;
subject to drouth; best suited to woods, hut favored areas may be used for pas-
ture or early market garden crops; also good for poultrj' raising. Extensively used
for sand and gravel supplies. Slopes average about 6 per cent; vvlion cultivated,
complicated erosion control methods are usually necessary.

Hinckley gravelly sandy loam

Hinckley gravelly sandy loam, dark colored phase

Hinckley gravelly loam

C. Lowlands derived from low terraces and recent alluvium; topography level to un-
dulating.

1. Soils of medium to fine texture, level to slightly undulating; first bottom and low
terraces; good for dairy farming, market gardening and small fruits; drainage
needed in some cases; slopes average about 1 per cent; special erosion control
methods rarely necessary.

Orono fine sandy loam
Ondawa very fine sandy loam

2. Soils of fine texture; level to slightly undulating; terraces; good for dairy farming

and in some cases market gardening and small fruit; drainage needed in many
cases. Slopes average about 1 per cent; special erosion-control measures rarely
necessary.

Orono silt loam

Orono silt loam, stony jiliase

Palmyra loam

D. Poorly drained land requiring artificial drainage for agricultural use; texture and
organic matter variable.

1. Soils high in organic matter; in some places potentially valuable for dairy farm-
ing and truck crops. Level or nearly level; erosion control methods may be
necessary in rare instances on Whitman soils.

Whitman loam

Muck

Peat

2. Soils of medium to low organic matter subject to overflow; best use pasture or
hay; some non-agricultural. Level or nearly level; surface erosion control rarely
necessary; control of stream-bank erosion occasionally necessary.

Meadow
Tidal marsh

E. Land of little or no agricultural value; best suited to forest, recreation, wild life

preserves, building sites, etc. Erosion control rarely necessary because of permanent
natural cover or buildings.

1. Soils of coarse texture, level to hummocky topography, and strongly subject to
drouth; low in organic matter and available plant food.

Gloucester stony loamy sand

Hinckley gravelly sandy loam, stony phase

Merrimac loamy sand

Hinckley loamy sand

Coastal beach

2. Land of very rough topography, very .stony or ledgy.

Rough stony land

3. Filled areas of miscellaneous origin.

Made land



14 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 385

Table 8. Soil, Slope, and Erosion Grouping for Land-use Capability
Classes in Essex County, Mass.

Land Type* Sloie Erosion

or Classes* *



C 1



E 3



Soil (iroup None to Very

Sliiil't Moderate Severe Severe

7 A I u ~ ....

] B II II III

A 1 < BB III III IV IV

C IV IV Vg Vg

'^ D Vg Vg Vw Vw

(A I II

B II II III

A 2 < BE III III IV IV

C IV IV Vg Vg

V D Vg Vg Vw Vg



r A IV IV

J B IV rv Vg



A 3 i BB IV Vg Vg Vw

C Vg Vw Vw Vw

^ D Vw Vw Vw Vw

(A I II III

B II II III III

B 1 < BB III III IV IV

C IV IV Vg Vg

'^ D Vg Vg Vg Vw

(A I II II

B 2 i B II II III III

I BB III III III IV

( BK II II III

B 3 J BBK III III IV Vw

\ CK IV IV Vw Vw

I DK Vw Vw Vw Vw



) A I II

^ B II II III

(A I II

C 2 < B II II III

( BB III III IV

D 1 ^ A IV IV

D 2 A IV

r A Vw Vw , Vw Vw

I B Vw Vw Vw Vw

E 1 ^ BB Vw Vw Vw Vw

C Vw Vw Vw Vw

I D Vw Vw Vw Vw

^ A Vg Vg

B Vg Vg Vw

E2 J BB Vw Vw Vw Vw

J C Vw Vw Vw Vw

L D Vw Vw Vw Vw



; A I TI

^ B II III III



*The land types indicated by the letters and figures belo\\' are described in table 7.
**For percentage range of slope classes, see table 1. K=very uneven, usually hummocky,
land.



LAND TYPES OF MASSACHUSETTS 15

Discussion of Natural Land Types of Massachusetts

First, consider the major groups of land types. Most counties of
Massachusetts will be found to have the largest acreage in the group (A,
table 7) composed of well-drained upland soils derived from glacial till,
and the land (B group) lying at intermediate levels comes second in
amount. The C and D groups are relatively small in all counties in the
State. In Barnstable County the acreage of alluvial soils is so small that
it ma\- well be combined with the C and D groups. In all counties the
last group (E in Essex County), or land of little, or no, agricultural value,
is relatively large, either because of tlie large amounts of rough stony
land and/or of poor grades of Hinckley or Plymouth soils.

The breaking down of tlie major groups into categories significant in
land use is more difificult than the first division. Variations within the soil
series, even within the type, account for some of this dii^culty. Stony
types and phases are usually put in the agricultural group on the assump-
tion that they may be used for pasture. However, some portions of these
soils are too stony for good pasture, and a further breakdown into degrees
of stoniness would serve as a basis for tlirowiiig portions of the stony
soils into tlie non-, or low, agricultural group. The B group is somewhat
easier to differentiate into land types significant in land use because of
marked dififerences in Merrimac and Hinckley soils. There is more dif-
ficulty in subdividing the C and D groups.



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