WOSSAC® Archive

National collection summaries

The WOSSAC archive contains tens of thousands of materials from all around the world. To aid researchers and other interested parties gain a full understanding of the holdings, a select number of country-specific reviews of WOSSAC materials have been produced. Each provides a short summary review of the key stages in the development in that country's national land and soil resource survey, linked to the holdings in the WOSSAC archive catalogue.

Further to this, all the materials held for these countries have now also been, or are being, captured electronically, in map and report catalogue (pdf) form for download. For many other countries, scanned materials are also available on-line in digital form. The materials may be accessed via the archive's search tool.

It is hoped that other materials will be added continuously to this list and the material for other countries eventually scanned systematically. The overviews serve as a guide to studies undertaken in each of these territories. We have summaries for Angola, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania


A summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in Angola.


A summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in Ghana held in WOSSAC.


A summary chronology of the soil and land use surveys carried out in Iraq held in WOSSAC.


A summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in Jordan held in WOSSAC.


This page provides a summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in Kenya, based on the sources which are held in WOSSAC.


A summary chronology and description of the few soil and land use surveys carried out in Liberia since the 1950s which are presently held in WOSSAC.


A summary chronology and description of the few soil and land use surveys carried out in Niger which are presently held in WOSSAC.


A summary chronology and description of the few soil and land use surveys carried out in Nigeria which are presently held in WOSSAC.

Solomon Islands

A summary chronology of the soil and land use surveys carried out in the Solomon Islands, based on a number of sources which are held in WOSSAC.

North and South Sudan

A summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in North and South Sudan over the period from the early 1930s and is based on a number of sources which are held in WOSSAC, for both countries.


A summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in Swaziland, based on the sources which are held in WOSSAC.


A summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in Tanzania over the period from the 1930’s and is based on a number of key reference sources.


The catalogue lists over 30 entries for Angola which includes material which has only indirect natural resource interest such as a livestock sector review; geophysical and geological material; and one volume on the agronomy of cotton. An examination of the specific pedological items suggests a grouping of the documents into the following groups:

  • four items which were completed during the 1950s;
  • four items which are representative of District surveys completed in mostly in the 1960s; and three later volumes which are regional summary volumes;
  • two items which are also numbered as part of this series but are national in scope.

General Soil Reports from the 1950s

The archive holds the following general soil reports from the 1950's:

  • WOSSAC#1722. Solos De Angola., Botelho da Costa, J.V. and Azevedo, A. L, 1953, 373 pages, with a soft cover, includes a brief English summary at the beginning and an overview of the proposed system in relation to existing international classifications as Appendix VII, also in English. The volume sets out a proposed classification of the soils of Angola at great Group level. There are comprehensive maps included but the sites of profiles described and sampled are recorded along roads.
  • WOSSAC#1723. Solos de Angola E A Agriculture, Ario Lobo Azevedo, 1954, soft cover, 98 pages, with coloured map at a scale of 1:4 Million, folded into the text. There is no English summary.
  • WOSSAC#2657. Reconhecimento Da Baixa De Cassanje. Domingos H. G. Gouveia, 1956, soft cover, 155 pages, with a 1: M coloured map folded into rear cover, with two smaller coloured figures. There is no English summary. Soils are described as a part of complexes or associations.
  • WOSSAC#23689. As Laterites do Ultramar Postugues; (Laterites from the Portuguese Overseas Provinces. 1959. Soft cover 156 pages, with an eight page summary in English. This volume is mainly concerned with the use of laterite gravel in road construction in all the overseas jurisdictions of Portugal at the time, including Angola.

Reconnaissance Level District Surveys during the 1960s

The WOSSAC archive holds four examples of District Level surveys undertaken in the period 1959 to 1969: These volumes share the following characteristics:

  • this material is in Portuguese, with no English summary;
  • the volumes are published in Lisbon;
  • coloured maps are folded inside the back cover;
  • the legend provides details at great group level with individual series/associations numbered and then described in the text;
  • each series is accompanied by analytical data

Specific details for each document is provided below.


Report #

District #








1:1 Million


WOSSAC#25486 & WOSSAC#1721*






WOSSAC#25487 & WOSSAC#1718**












* These reports are duplicated
** These reports have not been used and pages are still uncut as from the printer

In addition there are two volumes numbered as part of this series but which are national in scope.


Report #






Generalised map of Angola

National Map, 1:3 Million

1965 for map; 1968 for report





No maps; 1969 for report

Note, This publication series therefore has at minimum 59 volumes, of which the WOSSAC collection has a small sample only. The extent of the total collection (1-59) at least, are recorded inside the front cover of each volume. The District coverage includes Districts I to IV. It is not clear if there are other Districts mapped subsequently.

Regional surveys from the 1970s

Three later documents are also held within WOSSAC.

  • WOSSAC#1719. Geomorfologia, Solos E Ruralismo Da Regiao Central Angolana (Geomorphology, Soils and Ruralism of the Central Zone of Angola), Castanheira Diniz, A & de Barros Aguiar, F. Q. 1966. There is short English synopsis. Soft cover and 64 pages with many black and white pictures. A 1:1M geomorphology map is bound into the rear of the text.
  • WOSSAC#2648. Solos Aluviaia de Angola (Alluvial soils of Angola) Volume II Sedimentology and Mineralogy. Vieira e Silva, J. M. 1972. 11 pages with a soft cover. There is a short abstract in English. No maps.
  • WOSSAC#23516. Esboco Pedologico De Uma Regiao Centro Angolana. 1970. Soft cover 105 pages with two 1:1m dyeline maps bound into the text. This volume relates to the central core of the county and covers some Districts. The maps are difficult to interpret as one has the a legend but with no numbers or codes shown, and the other has the boundary lines but does not have a legend.

Project Documentation: Rangeland Reports

WOSSAC#8042, WOSSAC#8043, WOSSAC#8044, WOSSAC#8045, and WOSSAC#8046. These are project reports published in 1974 which provide a comprehensive Livestock Sector review. The work was carried out by two UK consultant organisations (APG Integrated Projects and Hunting Technical Services). The work was funded by the Coffee Diversification Fund of Angola. Volume I is the summary volume which provides a useful overview; Volume II which seems to be missing from the archive is the overall Livestock review; Volume III relates to Infrastructural Requirements; Volume IV deals with production prospects; and there is a separate volume (not numbered) on Meat Processing and Transport.

Loose Maps

The collection also holds a number of loose maps of Angola which are detailed below. None are of direct pedological interest. These include:

  • WOSSAC#15725, a 1969 road map of Angola at a scale of 1:1.5m. This map sheet is folded (cabinet 5) and is in poor condition;
  • WOSSAC#19679, a 1:1M scale topographic sheet of the Luanda area dated 1953; and
  • WOSSAC#19689, as above for the Cassamba area.

Gedological material

Seven items all dating from earlier than 1960, are held in the collection and brief details are noted below:

ID #

Title *






Mineral resources of Angola




Typewritten report in English


Explanation of the Geological map of Angola




Map is separate and not within the collection


Final report on the Phosphates of Cabinda Area


Jorge Couveira




Note on the Geological Survey of the Andulo region


Manuel Costa


Regional account


Geological Survey of the Chilesso-Andulo Area






Airborne Geophysics Survey of the Camissombo Area


Hunting Geology and Geophysics

No Map

In English


Geology of the Quicuco Complex




Abstract in English

* Translated from Portuguese


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The WOSSAC catalogue lists almost 260 entries for Ghana which includes unique material dating from pre-independence: the oldest documents in the Ghana corpus of documents dates from the late 1940s. Some of this legacy material is directly related to natural resources and the early cultivation of cocoa in the then Gold Coast, including a 1949 Gold Coast atlas. Other documents held has only indirect natural resource interest such as geophysical and geological material, some general agronomic documents, and a collection of topographic maps. Most notable of these early documents are two items dating for 1948 and 1949, which describe soils appropriate for cocoa. An examination of the specific pedological items suggests a grouping of the documents into the following:

  • early items reports and surveys which were completed pre-independence in early 1957;
  • items which are representative of project surveys completed prior to development initiatives mostly in the 1960s and 1970s;
  • several items which reports of forestry and geological and overviews of the agricultural potential and which are national in scope, and;
  • many topographic maps.

Specific reports mentioned have the WOSSAC (ID) as a hot-link in brackets.

Early collection of documents and maps for Ghana

One of the outstanding documents in the WOSSAC collection is an archive of papers from a pioneer soil surveyor, Stanley Radwanski, dating from 1956-just prior to independence. At that time the Gold Coast, Department of Soil and Land Use Survey, was active and generated reports such as this volume on the Tano Basin (WOSSAC#26, and WOSSAC#208). Other valuable reports from this period include surveys from Hugh Brammer in 1955, the Kpong Pilot Irrigation Project(WOSSAC#7). There are two documents from the 1940: An Atlas of the Gold Coast dated 1949 (WOSSAC#40911); and a valuable report of Cocoa soils (WOSSAC#26211), which is entitled 'Cocoa soils: Good and Bad'. An Introduction to the Soils of the Forest regions of West Africa. There are also some regional reconnaissance surveys such as (WOSSAC#12), of the Accra Plains by Hugh Brammer, dated to 1967. A 1954 document is a detailed soil report on the soils of the Kumasi College of technology (WOSSAC#26202)

Documents and Mapping related to Specific Irrigation Projects

These surveys are reports linked to development projects, mostly irrigation work in the period after independent Ghana was founded and up to the late 1970s. Specific areas are:

  • reports centred on the Accra Plains including land assessments by Japanese companies. This area has attracted attention from an early Brammer report in 1956;
  • the Lower Volta River Flood Plain Surveys;
  • a Land and Water Survey in the Northern Regions;
  • the Kpong irrigation development, and;
  • And the Weija and Aveyime irrigation schemes.

A number of consultancies have contributed reports to this archive for Ghana including documents which relate to work carried out within or in advance of irrigation development by companies such as -Hunting Technical Service and MacDonald Engineering of Cambridge. These project reports often contain detailed soil information and are accompanied by maps, such as the work of Ablorn, published in 1961, which includes a map at a scale of 1:40,000, (WOSSAC#308), in the Lower Volta Plains. Other documents are land use specific such as a 1976 report on oil palm project sites carried out for the Commonwealth Development Corporation in the Twifo locality (WOSSAC#392). Later work held in the archive includes materials from the 1980s on an update of the feasibility for the Accra Plains irrigation project (WOSSAC#3823). There exist some eight reports from this investigation.

Material which is National in Scope

Forestry documentation is well represented in the WOSSAC collection for Ghana and includes the Rural Forestry project in the early 1990s; a number of geological reports; and agricultural potential assessments of Ghana from the 1990s.

Loose maps

The collection also holds about 90 loose maps (scale 1:50,000) of Ghana: none of which are of direct pedological interest, being topographical etc in nature.

Historical Soil Surveys of Ghana- Tano River Basin

A recent acquisition by WOSSAC is a large fragile document which is a record of a draft Final Report for the Upper Tano Basin in what was then the Gold Coast, now Ghana. This survey formed part of a systematic effort to survey the soils of Ghana, using the river basis as the unit of survey.

The survey was carried out in the 1950s, by a team including: R Hamilton, M Scott, S.A Radwanski and P. M. Ahn. This document (WOSSAC#24489), which is marked as a draft Part 1, is typewritten on foolscap sized paper and unbound. Presently the document has a hard cover with pages attached only by treasury tags. Unfortunately there are no maps. The document is fragile.

The dates noted for the survey begin in 1951 with a rapid preliminary assessment, and the survey then moved to more detailed work later that year and continued until November 1954. The area is located in the south west of Ghana and is concerned with the Upper Tano basin only. The Tano River drains to the sea close to the border with Cote D'Ivoire. This document is therefore complementary to later full and final reports for the Lower Tano Basin published in 1961, by the Soil and Land-Use Survey Branch of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the newly independent Ghana. The author of these 1961 documents is Peter Ahn. Duplicate copies of this document are held within WOSSAC (WOSSAC#395 and WOSSAC#41758). There seems to be no final report for the Upper Basin, or at least a copy is not held currently by WOSSAC.

The Tano Upper Basin survey follows the traditional approach with comprehensive notes on the climate, including temperature and rainfall data, the geology, water resources, and vegetation. Soils are grouped into two major associations each with a number of series. The total number of series described is ten. Charts classify these series across to the FAO soil system. The document includes abundant laboratory data sheets. A section on the land-use is especially valuable as there is a record of the condition and species composition of seven forest reserves. Reference is made to land use maps but these are not included within this document.

These surveys are of interest as they began under the Gold Coast colonial administration and were completed following independence in 1957. They provide valuable historic climatic and land use information, in addition to a comprehensive description of the soils. The disappointment is the lack of maps for this Upper Basin work.


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The catalogue lists almost 200 entries for Iraq which includes material which has only indirect natural resource interest such as a livestock sector reviews, some general agronomic documents, and a collection of topographic maps. An examination of the specific pedological items suggests a grouping of the documents into the following groups:

  • early items usually project reports which were completed during the 1950s;
  • items which relate directly to salinity issues in Iraq soils;
  • items which are representative of project surveys completed in mostly in the 1960s and 1970s;
  • several items which are also numbered as part of this series but are national in scope; and
  • a few topographic maps.

Soils and Salinity

Soil salinity concerns are especially relevant in Iraq and two publications deal with this issue directly (WOSSAC IDs 756 and 757) were published in 1963 and 1971, which address the Reclamation of Salt Affected Soils in Iraq, in general and in the later volume in the Province of Ramadi specifically. In 1974, there a seminar on this topic was held in Baghdad and this is recorded in recorded in the ID WOSSAC#1571.

Documents and Mapping related to Specific Irrigation Projects

The majority of the WOSSAC collection of documents relate to work carried out within or in advance of irrigation development by a UK consulting company-Hunting Technical Service-within various parts of Iraq. There are all project reports which often contain detailed soil information and are accompanied by maps. These include the following:

  • Preparation for irrigation work in the Lower Khalis project area. There are some 50 reports on this project including monthly reports, and design documents. Documents (WOSSAC#1491, WOSSAC#1492 and WOSSAC#1493), for example relates to the mapping of soils and drainage conditions in the Lower Khalis area.
  • In a similar way the collection holds a suite of documents which relate to feasibility work carried out for Kirkuk irrigation projects during the period from 1958 to 1962.
  • Other soils related work dated in the early 1960s for the Mandali, Badra and Jassan Projects are also held.
  • Mapping which relates to the Diyala and Middle Tigris Soil surveys.
  • Finally there are reports from the Greater Mussayib project.

Project Documentation: Livestock Reports

The WOSSAC collection holds livestock reports from a 1974 Iraq & Europe Review and a report on a livestock farm at Abu Tamar.

Material which is National in Scope

The most interesting document in this part of the WOSSAC collection is a Botanical Check List for the Plains of Central Iraq, dated 1958. In addition there is a Memorandum on Agricultural Development in Iraq, dated 1974.


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Bakar (2001) reports how soil mapping and classification started in Jordan in the 1950s at a scale of 1:1,000,000, using the US soil classification system of 1938 with twelve great soil groups being recognized, the most common of which being grey desert soils, alluvial soils developed under desert climate, yellow soils developed under steppe conditions, and yellow and red Mediterranean soils developed where annual rainfall exceeds 250mm.

During the 1960s, West (1970) mapped the Soils of Baqa’a Valley at a scale of (10,000) using the U.S. Soil Taxonomy (7th Approximation). The area covered by this study was about 6,700 ha. The dominant taxonomic units encountered were Xerochrepts and Chromoxerets.

Usually these soils were located on gentle slopes and flat topography. Xerorthents were also identified in that area. However, their distribution was limited and they only occurred on the eroded slopes. This work was extended during the 1970s to Irbid and Karak regions. A detailed survey was carried out for 2,500 ha, and a semidetailed survey for 70,000 ha in Irbid region. Similar soil studies were conducted also in different parts of the country. An estimated area of 80,000 ha was mapped at a scale of 1:50,000 in Balqa.

Land Regions for Jordan were defined by Mitchell (1975) and interpretation of 1:250,000 scale LANDSAT MSS imagery to refine these units provided the basis for the soil mapping programme of the National Soil Map and Land Use Project (NSM&LUP) 1989-95. This study, conducted on behalf of the Jordanian Ministry of Agricuture by Hunting Technical Services Ltd. (UK) in association with Cranfield University’s Soil Survey and Land Research Centre (UK) led to the production of a national soil map and land use database for Jordan.

The National Soil Map and Land Use Project (NSM&LUP) was identified by staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Soil Survey Section in 1986 and processed through the Ministry of Planning with funding being identified in 1988 through the Commission of the European Communities. A contract (Project Number SEM/03/628/005) was signed between the Consultants and Client on the 2nd July 1989.

The study was carried out by a combined team of expatriate consultants and Jordanian staff and commenced on 2nd July 1989 with the formal signing of the contract and the arrival of the Project Manager. Other consultant staff, equipment and transport arrived by December 1989 allowing technical work to commence. A Computer Expert from Soil Survey and Land Research Centre (SSLRC), Cranfield University, UK, arrived in November and began the set-up of the DBMS and GIS systems. Jordanian staff were appointed at this time.

The Level 1 soil survey, a broad reconnaissance of the soils of the whole Kingdom with mapping at 1:250,000 scale, was the first part of a three level study: Level 2 involved semi-detailed soil survey and production of soil, land use and land suitability maps of 9000 km2 at 1:50,000 scale. Level 3 presents soil, land cover and land suitability maps at 1:10,000 scale of about 800 km2 based on a detailed soil survey.

Soils, Land Suitability and Land Cover were mapped at 1:10,000 scale, as 35 sheets on a base map prepared from existing published topographic maps of 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scale. Albums of these maps are held at Cranfield in the WOSSAC collection together with paper-based copies of all the associated reports.


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The WOSSAC catalogue lists more than 600 entries for Kenya which includes unique material dating from before independence in 1963. This brief overview provides an accessible introduction to this collection and offers some signposts for further research. The categories used are simply one way of grouping the material to assist a potential user to find documents which may be useful. There could be alternative groupings, such as bringing together material by geographic location.

Note: Specific reports mentioned have the WOSSAC (ID) as a hotlink in brackets, and the annotation s/c indicates that this document has been scanned.

Four important elements characterise this WOSSAC collection for Kenya.

A Provisional Soil Map of East Africa, WOSSAC item 42187
  • Many of these documents have been scanned and are therefore available via the WOSSAC website by clicking on the icon above the ID number. These are marked s/c in this text.
  • The collection is very broad, including traditional soil survey mapping and documents which related indirectly to pedologic resources such as soil conservation.
  • The collection represents work carried by national, and international agencies, together with consultancy reports, research materials, and items of grey literature.
  • Many of these older documents are now difficult to locate and access. The WOSSAC facility offers a rage of specialists an opportunity to obtain many documents from one source.

The oldest document in the Kenya corpus of documents dates from 1936, (WOSSAC#42187 s/c) and is a Regional Soil Map for East Africa at a scale of 1:2M. There is a 36-page report edited by Gordan Milne, which accompanies this map. Another pivotal document is a copy of the Swynnerton Report of 1955, which charted a way forward for Kenyan agriculture (WOSSAC#42753).

Other documents held have only indirect natural resource interest such as geological material, (many geology maps dating from the 1950s), some general agronomic documents, and a collection of topographic maps. An examination of the specific pedological items suggests a grouping of the documents into categories as set out below, may be useful.

Early collection of documents and maps produced by the Soil Survey of Kenya

An important overview of this early work is summarised in a paper by W Siderius dated July 1979, which has been consulted in the parallel ISRIC collection. An Inventory of Soil Surveys of Kenya, provides a brief history of early soils endeavours in Kenya which began in the 1950s in an 'ad hoc' way, and became formalised in the early 1960s with a Soil Survey Unit within the Ministry of Agriculture. This later became the Kenya Soil Survey (KSS). Siderius helpfully groups this early work into: Exploratory surveys at a scale of greater than 1:500k; reconnaissance surveys at scales 1;500k to 1:1,000k; semi-detailed surveys 1:20k to 1:50k; detailed investigations at scales less than 1:20k: and finally, a few variable site evaluations at variable scales. The WOSSAC collection has numerous examples from this period.

Detailed Level surveys

The WOSSAC archive holds a few examples of detailed mapping in Kenya carried out by the (SSK) including a map of the Juja area with the Joma Kenyatta College of Agriculture facility (WOSSAC#27484) and a map at 10,000 scale; and a detailed map, scale 1:5000 with legend of the Sio Area, near Busia. (WOSSAC#27485): together with a 1:20,000 map of the Yala Swamp dated 1966. (WOSSAC#130 s/c). An additional example of this SSK work, include a detailed surveys such as for the Kamleza North area (WOSSAC#130 s/c), which was seeking to identify land for bananas. This soil survey is based on an earlier 1945 investigation and land is divided into irrigation classes. However, there does not seem to be an accompanying map.

Semi-detailed surveys

Examples of this output held by WOSSAC are reports, compete with maps, at a scale of 1:50,000 for East Konyango (WOSSAC#2066 s/c) and the Songhar Area, (WOSSAC#35003 s/c). Both these substantial reports are dated 1961. The Songhar report includes a land assessment for sugar cane. This work is pre-independence and therefore completed for The Colony and Protectorate of Kenya, in collaboration with USAID. These are comprehensive soil reports compete with accounts of land use and land tenure and are illustrated with black and white photographs. Other areas surveys at the semi-detailed level include Oyani (WOSSAC#41184); and the Soils of the Kisii Area, Kenya. (WOSSAC#41192). The Soils of the Kapenguria Area, with maps at 1:50,000 (WOSSAC#19835 s/c) was published in 1976.

Reconnaissance Mapping

A classic document (WOSSAC#25443 s/c), of this time is a report published in 1963, based on reconnaissance mapping which began in 1953. A volume accompanied by a 1:100,000 scale map entitled, Soils of the Nairobi-Thika-Yatta-Machakos Area, was edited by R. M Scott and published a decade later following independence by the Government of Kenya. This is a very useful primer to the soils of Kenya, defining 19 soil associations with profile descriptions.

Early work also includes a series of reports in the 1960’s (WOSSAC#496 and WOSSAC#495 both s/c). The 1962 document for example, is entitled Geology of the Kasigau-Kusase area, but contains soil maps at scale 1:250,000, as does a similar volume (WOSSAC#495), for the Taita Hills. These reports are all brief and accompanied by reconnaissance maps.

A later example within the WOSSAC collection include outputs resulting from technical co-operation with the University of Wageningen, such as, Soils of the Kapenguira Area, dated 1976 (WOSSAC#19835 s/c). This survey included maps at a scale of 1:100,000.

Later outputs from the Kenya Soil Survey Unit are Land Suitability Surveys at a reconnaissance scale such as WOSSAC#42096 for the Eastern Province (1973), carried out with technical assistance from the University of Wageningen: this was followed in 1975 with reconnaissance mapping of the Kidaruma area (WOSSAC#41430WOSSAC#42098).

In 1985, with technical support for The Netherlands, reconnaissance maps of the Tsavo/Voi area were produced, (WOSSAC#41430), and other examples of reconnaissance mapping are for Western Kenya completed in 1985 with maps at 1:250,000 scale (WOSSAC#41156); and reports dated 1964, which relate to the Lambwe Valley. (Documents WOSSAC#133 and WOSSAC#134, both s/c), at a reconnaissance scale.

Additionally, WOSSAC holds a desk study carried out by the University of Wageningen including a report on Soils of the Kisii Area, 1982, This is a desk study using satellite imagery, (WOSSAC#1613 s/c, WOSSAC#25447 s/c and WOSSAC#42093).

Crop Suitability Mapping

A feature of land evaluation in Kenya has been surveys addressed at specific cropping regimes. For example, the possibility of bananas as an export crop was explored with accompanying soils information in 1964 (WOSSAC#130 s/c). A 1974 study of land suitability for sugar cane is an example (WOSSAC#23595 s/c) This document is in French. The agricultural consultancy Booker-Tate has a long history of work in this sector in Kenya and a typical output now incorporated within the WOSSAC collection is a survey of land north of Lake Nyanza around Busia. This report has one map and is dated 1981WOSSAC#44814), and earlier work published in 1976 in the N’zoia locality at Bungma-Webukw (WOSSAC#23598).

River Basin Studies

The programme of systematic mapping across Kenya was later overtaken by land resource assessment in advance of large-scale development projects, often in the planning of irrigation schemes. The WOSSAC collection holds documents which relate to the Tana River Delta and the Bura irrigation scheme and these form the largest corpus of material within the Kenyan section. The earliest report dates from 1967, (WOSSAC#41332), produced by Acres a Canadian consultancy company. Document WOSSAC#489 which is scanned is dated 1971 gives a Preliminary Evaluation of the Tana Delta for Irrigation, and is accompanied by maps at 1:100,000 scale.

At the same time several external agencies including technical support from the Government of the Netherlands involved more substantial feasibility studies with a view to promoting cotton production in the Bura area of the Tana catchment (WOSSAC#1681, WOSSAC#1685, WOSSAC#1686; all scanned). The University of Wageningen was especially active made substantial inputs into this mapping of this area during a feasibility stage of the investigations in the 1970s. One of the most extensive WOSSAC holdings is a map folder of 27 sheets from this exercise. and a number of planning reports by the UK consultants (WOSSAC#41420 and WOSSAC#41423). The collection also holds a substantive report (WOSSAC#42088), of a survey of the proposed Bura East irrigation development, dated 1981 and later in 1987 a useful summary of the pedology is found in an overview document again by the University of Wageningen (WOSSAC#42086). This is accompanied by three soil maps at a scale of 1:50,000.

Other documents which are available relate to the Kimwarer River catchment specifically the Kerio Valley. Documents (ID 3924-3928), were produced by the UK consulting company Hunting Technical Services in 1986 and cover the full range of irrigation feasibility studies include soils, and agronomy with maps at 1:10.000 scale. Report ID 3925 provides detailed mapping of selected site in this locality and WOSSAC#8242 s/c) is a reconnaissance assessment: both include map sheet.

Material related to Dryland Farming and Soil Conservation

The climatic reality of Kenyan farming requires close attention to soil conservation and an understanding of dryland farming. This is reflected in the documents held by WOSSAC. A summary of the issue is given in the reports dated 1980 entitled, Soil Conservation in Kenya, in 1980 (WOSSAC#40960), and a 1993 report by the UK based Natural Resources Institute, entitled, Soil and Water Conservation is Semi-Arid Kenya (WOSSAC#2074 s/c). A detailed review is within the report for Embu-Meru location dated 1985 (WOSSAC#2075 and WOSSAC#2102 s/c). The SIDA development agency was involved in this work and reports such as ID WOSSAC#2662, and WOSSAC#2664 (both scanned), describe this work in the period around 1989-91.

Land System and Climatic Material which is National in Scope

Kenya has benefited from several national and regional assessments of land resources based on either a land system approach or employing an agro-climatic framework. The most comprehensive of these is an early application of land system to produce, The Land System Atlas of Western Kenya, in 1972. There are multiple copies of this atlas within the WOSSAC archive (WOSSAC#1899, WOSSAC#2103, & WOSSAC#25749). Maps are available at 1:500,000 scale (WOSSAC#41570). Work by the KSS is also notable in with a 1982 publication entitled, Exploratory soil map and agro-climatic zone map of Kenya, with national maps at a scale of 1:1m.

Miscellaneous Material with a Land Resources Content

There is a copy of a rainfall map of the Laikipia Plateau, (WOSSAC#25446) produced as an aid to small scale farm management in an area of low rainfall. The role of fertilizers is noted in the publication, (WOSSAC#498 s/c) and termites at (WOSSAC#41975). There a number of publications which relate to road construction and sub-soils dating for the early 1970s (WOSSAC#25743, WOSSAC#25744, WOSSAC#25745, WOSSAC#25746 and WOSSAC#25747 s/c). A rather different appraisal is offered in a report by Wilhelm Ostberg, dated 1988. and entitled, Ramblings on Soil Conservation: An essay from Kenya. This reflects on the cultural and social contexts for soil conservation in rural Kenya. (WOSSAC#2670 s/c).

Geology Material

Geology maps and reports form a substantial part of the collection. These include national maps such as (WOSSAC#44012); early maps from the 1950s including a 1954 map at a scale of 1:125,000 for the Bur Mayo area (WOSSAC#43977 s/c); and maps accompanied by reports with an emphasis on mineral such as a 1963 assessment the Voi-South Yatta location (WOSSAC#95 s/c ). Many of these maps are scanned. [as these are colourful maps and scanned these would look well as one illustration on web page] A series of maps (WOSSAC#31313, WOSSAC#31314, WOSSAC#31315, WOSSAC#31316, WOSSAC#31317, WOSSAC#31318, WOSSAC#31319, WOSSAC#31320) at a scale of 1:100,000 were produced with technical inputs from the UK based Hunting Surveys Limited.

Loose maps

The WOSSAC collection also includes some 300 topographic maps of Kenya dating from the late 1940 through the 1960s. Scales are either 1:50,000 or 1:100,000. A typical example is WOSSAC#16691, Shakani 1:100,000.


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The catalogue lists nine entries for Liberia which includes three items from one project focused on the suitability of land for coconut palm plantations. These three items are listed in the catalogue individually but in fact are held together on the shelf as one item in a hard cover folder. Two items are geological in nature and were produced by Hunting Geology and Geophysics in 1969, and 1978 respectively. These have no direct utility for soil or land assessments. The most interesting items are related to soil mapping in preparation for a coffee and cocoa development programme; an assessment of the land capability of County-Grand Gedeh; a soil survey of an agricultural experimental station; and a document produced by USDA in 1951, which is a very broad reconnaissance soil survey of Liberia. Unfortunately, the report for Gedeh County is only the first of a two volume series and the map volume is missing from WOSSAC.

A worrying conclusion of this review of the collection is that there is little recent work in the country or little which is conserved for international use, and the most comprehensive document has the map volume missing. However, the key documents held by WOSSAC are noted below.

Reconnaissance Level

The results from a number of fact finding missions to Liberia by the United States Economic Mission during the period 1944-48, are brought together in a 107 page, A5 sized, soft cover booklet, entitled Reconnaissance Soil Survey of Liberia (WOSSAC#23980). The author is William E. Reed, who prepared a one-page figure bound into the booklet as a reconnaissance level map, which has no scale. Soils are recorded at a zonal level as Latosols, Lithosols or Regosols. The Latosol Group are further sub-divided into six associations based mainly on the geology of the parent material. There is a useful discussion on soil fertility and an outline land capability based in seven potential land uses.

Detailed Surveys

WOSSAC#23543, provides a 1:20,000 scale map and report of a Soil Survey of the Central Experimental Station Suakoko, Liberia, published by the USDA, Soil Conservation Service, in 1977. The extent of the survey is 1,689 acres. Fourteen map units were identified, based on seven soil series: both series and the mapping units are described in the report. The land suitability of the map units is assessed for a range of crops.

Project Documentation

There are two comprehensive items held by WOSSAC which relate to the development potential of specific crops.

  • WOSSAC#1525. Coffee and Cocoa Development Program: Pedological Maps
    This holding is only of the maps-there is no report. Twelve maps are held all at a scale of 1:10,000. These were prepared by an Abidjan based consultancy in 1976. Each area has an outline map, a soil map and a 'fitness for farming' map. Maps are dyeline copies only and the legends are in both French and English. Land suitability for both crops is provided in the 'Fitness for Farming' maps, which is sub-divided into five classes.
  • Items WOSSAC#1526, WOSSAC#1527 and WOSSAC#1528. Plan Palmier Cocotier. Prospections Pedologiques Pour Localiser les Sites des Plantations, (Land Suitability of Coconuts).
    This WOSSAC holding has a 64-page typewritten report; a volume which contains 47 annexes; and map box which contains three map volumes, relating to three specific sites, plus an overview of forest conditions.
    The survey was carried out by Sodopalm and published in July 1976. All the documents are in French. Maps are a scale of 1:10,000 and are dyelines with legends in both English and French. The sites are located in three Counties: Buto, Maryland, and Gedah. Soil classification is based mostly on texture and gravel content. The annex volume includes soil profile descriptions and chemical and mechanical analysis.

County Assessments

The WOSSAC archive contains one county level assessment - a Land Capability Survey of Grand Gedah County - (WOSSAC WOSSAC#32), completed in 1986 by Arup Ireland International, with EDF funding. This item is volume 1 of a 2-volume report of which the second volume is the album of maps. Unfortunately, volume 2 is not within the WOSSAC collection. Therefore the 44 maps produced are missing. These include reconnaissance surveys of vegetation, land use, and landforms at scales of 1:250,000; semi-detailed village surveys at a scale of 1:20,000; and finally, a number of surveys undertaken for swamp land at a detailed mapping level, resulting in plans at a 1:2,000 scale. The work also produced land capability assessments for both upland and swamp soils for rice and upland crops. The absence of the maps from the WOSSAC collection limits the value of this document.


The WOSSAC collection also includes two key documents relating to the geology of Liberia:

  • Interpretation of an Aeromagnetic Survey over the Liberian Continental Shelf (WOSSAC#14146)
  • An Operations Report of a Helicopter-Borne Spectrometric Survey in Liberia (WOSSAC#14147)


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The WOSSAC archive has a limited number of documents from Niger. However, one project has generated a significant number of documents and an excellent map series and this provides a useful description of an area of 8,000 sq. km. in the east of the country close to the border with Nigeria. A useful map within the report shows the area as defined by approximately 11.5 deg N to 13.5 N. The area is some 225 km in length and is a long narrow band following old drainage lines which are tributaries of the River Niger.

The documents held by WOSSAC are two reports in French and one translation in English (WOSSAC #9102). There are two accompanying map volumes WOSSAC #9104 (Maps 1-10) and WOSSAC #9105 (Maps 11-20). The report is entitled, Project de Mise en Valeur Du Dallol Maoure Etudes Pedologioues (WOSSAC #9102). Therefore there are 20 maps-all coloured- and this note provides a guide to the documents especially the useful maps. These were all produced by HTS in September 1969. The survey documentation is structured in three levels.

  • Two maps of the total area at a reconnaissance scale of 1:200,000;
  • A comprehensive mapping series at semi-detailed level of 1:25,000;
  • One at 1:5000-a detailed survey.

The basis of the survey is to explore the usefulness of the landscape features described as a 'dallol', which is a former river channel cut into a plateau with laterite soils. These channels are now choked by sand and do not carry water, except in exceptional floods. The channels are often waterlogged and are sometimes described as a fadama. Given this landscape history the survey makes use of easily understood landscape units in defining mapping units, e.g. depressions.

The Niger Classification system

The map series is best understood as three series recording soils; land capability; and finally suitability for irrigation. The framework for the classification is well described within the reports e.g. Section 3.2 describes the Principle Soil Types, using FAO terminology. The Table below sets out the structure of the mapping. The best introduction to the map series is to examine Map 3 first as this provides a Location Diagram, showing all the semi-detailed areas mapped. The Table A. below lists these named locations within the survey area, with an indication of the appropriate map, and Table B, lists the map scales with some notes.


Soil Map #

Land Class Map #

Irrigation Suitability #

Dallol Tuli
























Nord de Gaya




Sud de Gaya












Map #



Map Type




All area

Soils and PM

Seven PM types e.g. wet or gleyed soils




Land capability




Dallol Tuli


Also 400,00, location diagram













North Gaya





South Gaya











Land class

Repeat of #4, with location




Land class





Land Class




Gaya  N

Land class




Gaya  S

Land class





Land class





Irrigation porential

























Irrigation Potential

Four class systems of classes

The land classification demarcates five classes and classifies these to the sub-class level with qualifying notation such as d-drainage; t-topography; and s-soil, which show the limiting factors. In general class 4 soils have limited arable use, mostly due to their sandy textures.

The irrigation classification is mostly as Class 3-that is coarse textured and suitable only for irrigation by sprinkler or piped.

The report gives 65 sets of chemical analysis and 15 soil profiles are described.


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Land Resources Division (LRD) Archived Documents for Nigeria

The WOSSAC collection now includes a substantial number of reports and maps generated by the UK based, Land Resources Division over the period 1956 to 2001. The full history of this unit is traced in the 2006 publication, Developing Countries: Evaluation of Land Potential, edited by John Makin et al.. This note provides a summary of the LRD output for Nigeria which is held within WOSSAC. The intention is that further notes detailing the LRD material held for other countries and territories will follow.

Within the archive the LRD reports and maps for Nigeria have been brought together in one place. This allows individual reports to be seen within the context of the overall LRD study; locates each report within a geographic area; and connects documents to each other and to the mapping output. All the WOSSAC identification numbers have been retained as before. The LRD nomenclature was to label each new country initiative as a STUDY. Therefore, within the WOSSAC archive the holdings for Nigeria are:

Study Region
2 Sardauna and Adamawa
9 North-East
23 North West
29 Central Nigeria Project (CNP)

By far the largest Study (29) was the Central Nigeria Project (CNP), which spans almost a decade from 1969 - 78. This project absorbed some 54-man years of professional scientific work. A full description of the history and methodology used during this project can be found in Makin et al, (p67). The volume of maps and reports generated during the CNP, requires signposting to assist in the identification of a specific document. This note provides such a guide.

The project was undertaken in six locations across the centre of Nigeria stretching from south of the Benue River to the northern border with Niger. The land resources of six physiographic regions are described in Volumes numbered 1 to 6 as below and these are illustrated in the accompanying figure.

CNP Volumes (final reports) Volume Number
Bauchi 1
Jos 2
Jema’a 3
Benue 4
Kaduna 5
Kano 6

Data Gathering and Reporting: Interim and Environmental Reports

The early reports, for example the Bauchi Plains, are considered as Interim and entitled, Interim Report on the Landforms, Soils, and Vegetation of the Bauchi Plains. The title reflects the initial project intention which was to collect and process land resource data. The methodology used to collate this information was, a Land Systems approach which identifies repeating patterns of soils and landforms. This was a flexible tool and employed successfully throughout the CNP across all the physiographic regions from south to north.

These interim or background reports are the building blocks of the final report volumes described below. As this background data gathering in the field spanned a long time period during the 1970s the procedures evolved. For the first three areas Bauchi (1974), Jos (1973/74), and Jema’a (1974), separate land system and soil maps were published at scales of 1:250,000 and these are stored in sturdy card folders in this section of the archive. For the later three areas, Benue (1976); Kaduna (1977), and Kano (1978), the final land system mapping was merged into the Final Report.

All of this background reporting and mapping is boxed following the same geographic areas as described above - Bauchi, Jos, Jema’a etc. Within each box there are two copies of each document. Boxes are clearly labelled as Interim and follow the established framework of geographic areas. These background documents have matt covers in a variety of different colours.

Final Reports: Agricultural Development Possibilities

During the evolution of the CNP it was realised that the usefulness of this basic resource data needed to be interpreted, extrapolated and repackaged to underpin future agricultural planning. This development led to a suite of Final Reports which are entitled, Agricultural Development Possibilities.

Therefore, these final reports are based on data and mapping gathered over a lengthy period and reported in the series of background volumes described above. It is important to stress the strong link between the initial background data gathering documentation phase and the final reports. The final reports extrapolate the earlier data and added maps of the land use, together with information on limitations for crop options with areas coded 1 being most flexible and areas coded 6, having severe limitations. Crop suitability coding for common crops such as millet and maize are also added. Included in these final reports are coloured maps setting out future Agricultural Development Possibilities. The information is packages within the land systems as previously described.

These LRD final reports have brown glossy covers and all follow the previous geographic pattern. These are stored on the upper shelves. Each box is labelled clearly on the front giving details of the location and volume number. Each box contains three copies of each document.

The figures below show firstly the location of the LRD studies in Nigeria. This note is concerned with the largest of these – Study 29, Central Nigeria Project.

As described above the key to understanding this collection is distinguishing between the Interim documents and the Final Reports. The image below illustrates the outputs for Kaduna with the final output in brown covers and the background report series in green. All other Physiographic regions follow this pattern.


In summary the early background field work provided a basis for the later final reports which moved beyond the reporting of the data to offer potentials options for future agricultural development. The WOSSAC archive is comprehensive as it embraced both these phases of the Central Nigeria Project with a full set of data for all the areas.


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Solomon Islands

The WOSSAC archive is fortunate in holding comprehensive documentation relating to a substantial land resource appraisal of the islands of the Solomon archipelago, carried out by the Land Resources Division (LRD), during the period from 1974-1977.

Documents produced by the UK Land Resources Division

Following initial reconnaissance investigations of two islands only, a full Land Resource Study 18 was completed across all the territory, using the Land System mapping approach. The suite of documents held by WOSSAC also include separate reports of soil description and analysis; rainfall data; and technical bulletins. The WOSSAC holding is tabulated below.

Report Authors Dates Notes
Land Resources Study
(LRD Number 18)
Land Resources of the British Solomon Islands
In eight volumes
Wall & Hansell 1974-77 Each volume deals with an island or group of islands within the Solomon Islands archipelago.
Each volume is accompanied by a map folder:
Technical Bulletins
The Soils of the Solomon Islands. LRD Technical Bulletin, Number 4. Supplementary Report. Volumes 1 & 2
Hansell, Wall, Catt, Ormerod, Varley, and Webb 1979 These are two technical volumes which deal with the pedology, classification, mapping and fertility status. Colour plates of soils are included.
Additionally, there is a map volume with four sheets, each at scale 1:1M
  • The soils of the Solomon Islands, Volume 1 - Technical Bulletin No. 4. (WOSSAC#449)
  • The soils of the Solomon Islands, Volume 2 - Technical Bulletin No. 4. (WOSSAC#450)
Soil Descriptions and Analysis.
In six Volumes. Supplementary Reports no. 13 A&B/14/19 A&B/20/21/22
Ash, Barnes, Hansell Wall and Webb 1975 & 1976 Methods of analysis; detailed profile descriptions; and profiles grouped by land system.
  • Soil descriptions and analyses from Guadalcanal and the Florida Islands, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Section A, Supplementary Report 13 (WOSSAC#1582)
  • Soil descriptions and analyses from Guadalcanal and the Florida Islands, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Section B, Supplementary Report 13 (WOSSAC#1583)
  • Soil descriptions and analyses from Malaita, Dai and Ulawa islands, British Solomon Islands Protectorate. Supplementary report 14 (WOSSAC#269)
  • Soil Descriptions and analyses from New Georgia and the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands. Section A. Supplementary report 19 (WOSSAC#273)
  • Soil Descriptions and analyses from New Georgia and the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands. Section B. Supplementary report 19 (WOSSAC#274)
  • Soil Descriptions and analyses from the Eastern District, Lord Howe, Rennel and Bellona, Solomon Islands. Supplementary report 20 (WOSSAC#270)
  • Soil Descriptions and analyses from Santa Isabel and San Jorge, Solomon Islands. Supplementary report 21 (WOSSAC#271)
  • Soil Descriptions and analyses from Choiseul and Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands. Supplementary report 22 (WOSSAC#272)
Rainfall Data Ash, Wall and Hansell
Allardyce Harbour and Lungga 2 and Makina & Yandina
1974 Two volumes
  • Rainfall data for the British Solomon Islands Protectorate to the end of 1973. Allardyce Harbour - Lungga 2 Supplementary Report 12 (WOSSAC#2515)
  • Rainfall data for the British Solomon Islands Protectorate to the end of 1973. Makina-Yandina Supplementary Report 12 (WOSSAC#2516)


LRD Solomon Islands report

A full historical account to this work, which is often quoted as an outstanding example of a land resources work, is described in Makin et al., (2006).*

*Makin, Bennett, Brunt, and Griffin, 2006. Developing Countries: Evaluation of Land Potential. The Work of LRD 1956-2001

Within the WOSSAC system the LRD documents are stored within the Solomon Islands shelving. The eight volumes of the Land Resource Study are marked with the volume number. Volume 1 is entitled Introduction and Recommendations; Volume 2 is Guadalcanal and the Florida Islands; and so on to Volume 8. Each box is marked with the volume number.


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North and South Sudan

The geographical area covered by North and South Sudan stretches across many ecological zones, from the desert lands on the northern border with Egypt to the very edge of tropical rainforest along the southern borders with the Central African Republic. The size of the area also means that there are many and varied distinctive habitats and natural resource zones encompassed within the countries. This makes any description of resource surveys difficult to distil into a brief consolidated description. Therefore this section provides only a very brief chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in both North and South Sudan over the period from the early 1930s and is based on a number sources which are held in WOSSAC. The best introduction to Land resource history in the Sudan is to be found within, Thin on the Ground, Land Resource Survey in British Overseas Territories, by Professor Anthony Young, 2007. In addition there is an account of the work of the work of the Land Resource Division (LRD) in the Imatong Mountains during the 1970s in Developing Countries: Evaluation of Land Potential 1956-2001, edited by John Makin, John Bennett, Martin Brunt, and Chris Griffen and published in 2006. Vernon Robertson also provides a detailed account of the work of Hunting Technical Services in Jebel Marra, an article in the Geographic Magazine.

This account is therefore not meant to be a definitive description of the history of land resource assessment in the Sudan and is certainly not a comprehensive coverage of all the work. Rather it provides an introduction to the materials held within the WOSSAC archive, within a structured framework. This is important to the Sudan Case Study as it:

  • Firstly, sets into a chronology the surveys and reports. This allows individual reports to be linked as part of larger survey initiatives for example the work of Hunting Technical Services who carried forward the majority of surveys pre-1990 and is also traces the changing approaches and methodologies; and
  • Secondly, it also points out the central role played by Sudan in the development of soils and land use mapping not only in the East African region, but internationally, especially in relation to irrigation. Much of the mapping in Sudan had as an objective land classification for irrigation development.

In order to provide a framework for this brief account the chronology has been divided into a number of time periods which are useful for description, but are in essence arbitrary.

From this period the sources held by WOSSAC include material from 1938 comprising essays on soil management in the Journal of Applied Pedology. Also published in the Journal of Ecology in 1948, is a description of Tropical Soil-Vegetation Catena and Mosaics in the south-west of Sudan, by Morison et al. This is one of the very few academic research studies in the savannah landscapes on the basement complex rocks west of the Nile. In addition the archive holds a number of 1:250,000 base maps for Sudan from this era: maps from Darfur dated: 1937-Zalingi; 1938-Kereinik; and 1944 respectively for Nyala.

Just prior to independence there was an ambitious assessment entitled, Estimates of the Irrigable Areas of the Sudan, undertaken by the UK based engineering consultancy, Alexander Gibb and Partners. WOSSAC holds both maps and a report from this work. These 17 maps produced in the period from 1951-53 are at scale of 1:100,000, in black and white only, are in a very brittle condition but are preserved in the archive. Also from this period is an overview document of the Soils of Sudan, which is a typewritten document with hand drawn maps included in the text.

In the early 1950s work began on the ambitious, Equatorial Nile Project and its Effects in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. There is a six-volume set of documents held in the archive, which includes a summary volume and material which provides a more detailed study of the effects of the project on local hydrology, soils, agriculture and people of the Jonglei area, and how these might be remedied. The topics covered: Irrigation, Hydrology, Fisheries, Ecology, Population, Agriculture, Grazing, Soils, and Climate. This subject was returned to much later in the 1980s with a project to evaluate the construction of a long canal which would enable part of the flow of the White Nile. The Jonglei Canal Project Study, was funded by the European Development Fund in 1983.

Also from this early period is an evaluation of the potential within the Southern Provinces of Sudan, which may now prove to be very timely as international attention focuses on this Region. This provides an overview of the then current natural resources of the region, with an assessment of development potential and research needs. A preliminary report by the Southern Development Investigation Team in 1954, includes material relating to Natural Resources, Development, Trade, Markets, Agriculture, Animal husbandry, Fisheries, Water supply, Minerals, Industry, Ecology, Climate, Geology, Soils, and People.

An Independent Sudan - Post 1956

Following independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956, the imperative was to gain as much information as possible to allow the new State to increase domestic agricultural production. This activity was seen to represent an extension of the existing agriculture along the Nile Valley, and also a means to gain reconnaissance-level information for more remote areas.

An early initiative was to attempt a census of the newly independent county and WOSSAC holds the 1955/56, Sudan Census Maps - some 14 sheets in all - at a scale of 1:1 million. These show villages, irrigation schemes, as well as boreholes antiquities and many other features. Superimposed on this base material are census areas depicted in red.

In 1957, Hunting Technical Services (HTS), a UK survey company were commissioned by the newly formed Sudanese Government to make a preliminary study of the land and water potential of the Jebel Marra area in the far west on the country in Darfur province. This survey of 12,000 square miles began what was to be a long association of between HTS and Sudan which resulted in many surveys of the natural resources across the country. The investigations described in this report were planned as the first or reconnaissance phase of a longer term study which it is was hoped would eventually lead to the development of irrigated agriculture in Western Darfur. The summer period in the areas of the Jebel is characterised by heavy rainfall allowing permanent streams to develop in this otherwise arid environment. The concept was that these streams could be conserved to allow an extended irrigation season. Work by HTS on this survey and evaluation continued into the 1960s funded by a UN Special Fund. Maps were produced of the forest resources and potential irrigable area, along with vegetation assessments, at a scale of 1:250,000. All of the Phase I studies were summarised in 1963, which provides a very comprehensive overview of this remote area and has for example valuable rainfall data.

The search for potential agricultural land in areas away from the Nile valley continued into the 1970s with water survey and development projects in Darfur Province. Both surface and hydrogeological work was competed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, together with assessments on irrigation potential.

Nile Valley Irrigation Surveys

The other main area of effort during this early independence period was along the Nile Valley with the Roseires Soil Survey, for example being undertaken in the mid 1960s and with the 18 accompanying sheets being published in February 1967. These are handsome coloured soil and land classification map sheets, depicted at a scale of 1:50,000.

This work was followed by a similar undertaking for the Pump Irrigation Project on the Main Nile: this required a study of environment and social aspects related to agriculture, which was published in 1967. This work went though several phases with Pre-Investment Reappraisal of the Northern Nile Pump Schemes in 1979, which appraised the land resources for 36 pump schemes at a scale of 1:25,000 and which required 13 map sheets, mapping land suitable for irrigation and recording existing irrigated land. Also in this period there were compiled a set of 1:50,000 coloured sheets relating to land classification for the Blue Nile Survey. There are six sheets for the Rahad area and five for the Roseires irrigation schemes.

In the next decade there followed a Nile Water Study, which centred on agricultural systems planning to provide alternative irrigation in the Blue Nile Region-1978. This work, undertaken by HTS, was published at a scale of 1:100,000 and there are a total of 19 sheets mapping land as classified for irrigation use.

Land was also evaluated for specific uses such as the Kenana Sugar Project Feasibility Project, 1972 and 73, and a Cotton Marketing Project 1983-84, along the Nile irrigated areas.

Interest in the potential of Nile Valley continued into the 1990s with the White Nile Pump Schemes Modernisation Study, followed by Blue Nile Pump Schemes Modernization Study, which included soil, land classification and agricultural studies and then related these to agricultural development of the existing and potential irrigated areas.

Integrated Development Projects

The early work which commenced in the Jebel Marra area in the 1957 and concentrated on irrigation potential formed the basis for further survey work funded by FAO in the 1960, which in turn led to a joint UNDP/FAO investigation entitled the Agricultural Development of the Jebel Marra Area, in the period 1976-77. This project based in Zaleingei, expanded the survey area to 40,000 km square and included livestock and dryland agricultural production. The funding then moved to the European Development Fund (EDF), which launched the Jebel Marra Rural Development Project beginning in 1980. This project became one of the classic Integrated Rural Development Projects (IRDP) of the period running through several phases until 1995 and producing many volumes of reports all of which are archived. There are also in the archive a series of semi-detailed soil maps from the 1960s for key locations such as Wadi Debarei. More recently is the Land Use Planning Studies: Final Report published as late as 1995.

Beginning with a regional hydrogeological and surface waters survey Darfur Province, in the late 1960s there followed the formulation of a rural development project based largely on water supplied by deep boreholes. The Southern Darfur Land-Use Planning Survey followed and was a reconnaissance soil and geomorphology survey of the Project Area was carried out between January and June 1972. This work also included a rangeland evaluation and formed the basis for the Nyala-based, Savannah Development Project, which also went through numerous phases and interest by differing donors in the period 1971-1991. There was a slight name change in the 1980s with the title becoming the Western Savannah Project (WSP), which covered an area of 92,000 square kilometres and the archive contains land use mapping and many other reports, including household surveys, from this period. In both Jebel Marra and the above Western Savannah Project, Hunting Technical Services maintained teams of long-term professionals who were instrumental in generating primary data which provides an important key to the understanding of this remote western region. Most of this is archived.

In a similar way Hunting Technical Services were involved in a land evaluation in Kordofan Province in the period 1960s, which mapped some 66,500 square kilometres. A Land and Water Use Survey in Kordofan Province of the Republic of Sudan - 1963, resulted in important contributions to baseline data and development planning options for the region, including a set of geological and vegetation maps. There is also a Soil Survey of the Nuba Mountains 1963 by D. C. Findlay (Findlay had also worked for the Soil Survey of England and Wales and had gained soil survey experience in Ethiopia). This work was followed during the period 1978-1982 by material generated by the South Kordofan Rural Planning Unit -1978-82. All these materials are archived.

In a similar way Hunting Technical Services were involved in a land evaluation in Kordofan Province in the period 1960s, which mapped some 66,500 square kilometres. A Land and Water Use Survey in Kordofan Province of the Republic of Sudan - 1963, resulted in important contributions to baseline data and development planning options for the region, including a set of geological and vegetation maps. Many other documents belonging to this study are located in several libraries in Khartoum.

Another of these rural area based schemes was the Area Development Scheme, Lower Atbara, which includes soil, climate, crop water requirement, and irrigation management requirement. There are in the archive a series of documents from this scheme from 1994/95.

There are also a number of overview documents within the archive which attempt to pull together much of this information. These include the Sudan Resource Management Study: A Natural Resources Data Assessment of Kordofan and Darfur. This was completed in 1987 and funded by the World Bank. A more analytical volume is Resources, Development and Politics in Darfur, completed by HTS in September 2004.

Mapping Related to Drought Rehabilitation

In the early 1980s there was global concern over what then was perceived as desertification. In this context a study entitled, Ecological Imbalance in the Republic of the Sudan, by Fauad Ibrahim led the arguments for increased drought being driven by agricultural expansion in Darfur. These views were reinforced following widespread drought and famine in the west of Sudan in the early 1980s and there was a move to upgrade the resource information and to make the work more accessible and useful to aid organisations. Therefore, based on Landsat data, a series of 1:250,000 maps were produced for Darfur during 1985-86. These were used as base maps by development workers, with a further series of maps at the same scale being produced with land systems and soil information superimposed.

Related to these development efforts were an innovative mapping exercise in the Monitoring vegetation and Land Use Change in Areas of Darfur, using SPOT 1988 imagery. This was a benchmark study where the objective was to quantify land use change by a comparison with 1971-72 air photography. This work was again updated in the early 1990s, using weather satellite data for all of Sudan. Maps such as an Estimated Shift in Rainfall Zones based on Isohyets 1931-60 and 1961-90, resulted from this work and are held in the archive, together with a valuable historical summary of vegetation conditions for all the years from 1982 to 192 inclusive. The Technical Assessment of Drought Preparedness and Desertification, also maps rainfall variations over this period.

Land Resource Evaluation in Southern Sudan

As described above the major donor-funded efforts within Sudan since independence have been in the Nile Valley or Western Sudan, and the vast savannah landscapes of the south of Sudan have not received as much attention. During the period when development partners were willing to support resource survey as the basis for general agricultural development in the 1970s, there were few examples of reconnaissance level evaluations. As a result, today this leaves the southern provinces without any systematic natural resource appraisal. A study entitled, Natural Resources and Development Potential in the Southern Provinces of the Sudan, provides an exception to this but is a very early report, published in 1954, covering Irrigation, Agriculture, Engineering, Development, Livestock, and Crop Production. There was also a valuable appraisal of Land Systems in Bahr el Ghazel Province, followed by a review of Integrated Land and Water Resource Development in Southern Sudan - 1980. In addition there is an Economic Development Potential Study East Bank Eastern Equatorial Sudan.

This study aimed to determine the economic status of the area, to identify 'bottle necks' to economic growth and to propose ways in which economic activity could be stimulated and to study the refugee situation in the Madi area. During the 1980s, however, interest in stimulating agriculture in the region was boosted by a series of surveys and assessments undertaken by Booker Agriculture. Exploratory Soil Surveys of Gogrial, Wau, and Rumbeck, were carried out and reports accompanied by maps are available in the WOSSAC archive. Maps of land units at scale 1:100,000 accompany these reports. Building on this resource survey there are in addition Agricultural Development Potential assessments for Mundri (1983), and Wau and Yei in (1984).

The Imatong Mountains

The Imatong Central Forest Reserve is of special importance to the Sudan as it one of the few extensive areas in the country capable of supplying timber in reasonable quantities. The areas was mapped and the vegetation classified by the UK Overseas Development Administration (ODA) in 1977. The only major forestry documents held within the archive are a Report on the Forest Resources of the Jebel Marra Area. Darfur Province, comprising a part of the Jebel Marra resource inventory from the 1960s.

Resource Surveys in the Eastern and Coastal Areas

An economic water planning model, the Eastern Region Institutional Review of the Water Sector and Institutional Capability Study, is one of the few documents held which was related directly to the East of Sudan.

Overview Material

A text entitled, Sudan Profile of Agricultural Potential, provides an overview of the agricultural potential of Sudan and the constraints to development, particularly with respect to irrigation: published in 1987. In a similar way, A Review of Agricultural Studies of Sudan, gives a review of the literature of agriculture in the Sudan. This is worth reading alongside the masterly work edited by J.D. Tothill, first published in 1948. This seminal book entitled, A Handbook of Agriculture as Practised in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, is unfortunately not held currently in the Wossac archive, although it is available online elsewhere . There are also important sectoral reviews including the Livestock Sector Review and Project Identification, of 1972.

Other material held includes a list of vernacular, or common names, for the Plants of the Anglo-Egyptian Region of Sudan, published in 1948; and a Camel Density Map of Sudan from 1964.


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The WOSSAC catalogue lists almost 160 entries for Swaziland. The collection is especially strong with regard to soil mapping and the systematic land inventories of the territory, which were underway between 1955 and the late 1980s.

Early large systematic surveys

The early large systematic surveys were done by George Murdoch and his colleagues in the Department (later Ministry) of Agriculture in the Usutu Basin, 1958 - 1968 (WOSSAC#386, WOSSAC#387, WOSSAC#25721 and WOSSAC#22). Murdoch carried out many other surveys in the rest of the country and integrated them into the 1968 publication, The Soils and Land Capability of Swaziland, compiled and published by the Swaziland Ministry of Agriculture, (WOSSAC#1907). This benchmark document is a masterful summary of soils and land capability with many tables and accompanying maps. The WOSSAC collection also holds digitised copies of the maps from this survey (WOSSAC#37417 and WOSSAC#18). This national evaluation was followed in 1972 by the publication of a, Land System Atlas of Swaziland, as part of a commitment by UK Directorate of Military Survey to test the then emerging remote sensing techniques in the evaluation of land.

Since then soil and land resource mapping in Swaziland has benefitted from a number of large systematic and high quality surveys by consultancy companies working on internationally funded development projects. A major part of the WOSSAC collection is taken up with the report on work carried out within irrigation schemes in the Komati Basin, in the 1990s. The reports Review and Feasibility of the Komati River Basin Development, by engineering contactors Alexander Gibb and the natural resource consultants, Hunting Technical Services, is recorded in many monthly reports held within WOSSAC, together with documents on the economics, agriculture, irrigation and land resources. There are also reports for areas in other parts of the Lowveld by Huntings (WOSSAC#35035, WOSSAC#4430, and 4430), Booker Tate and EPDC.

CDC was heavily involved in forestry and agricultural developments in Swaziland and had its own in-house soil survey, evaluation and management teams. The earliest documents from them that we hold held is a Soil Survey of the Swaziland Irrigation Scheme dating from 1961.

There have been a number of important documents on the assessment of land for other sugar estates, such as Tambankulu and Big Bend, and culminating in a 2006 report (WOSSAC#19837) entitled, the Soils of the Swaziland Sugar Industry. This report has been digitised.

During 1965 a number of crop or land use specific documents were published by the Swaziland Department of Agriculture including evaluations for cotton (WOSSAC#2629), pineapples (WOSSAC#2631), and plantation forestry (WOSSAC#2636). A decade later the publication entitled, A Field Guide to the Soils of Swaziland, (WOSSAC#298) provides an accessible field description of the main soil types.

Many of the land evaluations completed were undertaken river basin development projects as the mapping units and the collection contains much material on the Usutu basin from the 1960s, the Umbeluzi in the 1970’s and more recently the Komati and Ngavuma Basins from the 1990s.

Loose maps

The collection also holds a few loose topographic maps (scale 1:50,000) of Swaziland: none are of direct pedological interest.


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Here is provided both a summary chronology of the numerous soil and land use surveys carried out in Tanzania over the period from the 1930's, and a series of profiles of Pioneer Tanzania Soil Scientists (1928-1970). The descriptions here are based on a number of key reference sources. The best introduction to early Land resource history in Tanzania is to be found within the excellent and authoritative book Thin on the Ground, Land Resource Survey in British Overseas Territories (Young, 2007; Young, 2018 2nd edition). Further to this, there is also an excellent account of the work of the work of the Land Resource Division (LRD), in Developing Countries (Makin et al., 2006).

This account is not meant to be an essay on the history of land resource assessment in the Country and is certainly not a comprehensive coverage of all the work. Rather it provides an introduction to the materials held within the WOSSAC archive, within a structured framework. This is important to the Tanzanian Case Study as it:

  • Firstly sets into a chronology the surveys and reports. This allows individual reports to be linked as part of larger survey initiatives for example the work of the UK based Land Resources Division (LRD), in the Tabora area, and also traces the changing approaches and methodologies.
  • Secondly, also points out the central role played by Tanzania in the development of soils and land use mapping not only in the East African region, but internationally. In order to provide a framework for this brief account the chronology has been sliced into a number of time periods which are useful for description, but are essentially arbitrary.

Materials for Tanzania held in WOSSAC may be retrieved via the website search tool - use the 'advanced text search' option and enter in Tanzania as the country to see the records.

The Colonial Surveys

The earliest record within the WOSSAC collection is a colonial document which describes a soil reconnaissance 1935 and 1936. These notes were made by Geoffrey Milne, an agricultural officer in Tanganyika (described more fully below), who became a one of the outstanding figures in soil science. His early records made during his travels in Tanganyika, provided the basis for his subsequent development of mapping soils in relation to the landscape and his concept of a soil catena which links soil development to the topography has provided the foundation for soil surveying since the 1930s. In Tanzania this relationship of soils and topography was being utilised in soil mapping up until the 1960s when a soil association and topography map was published by Scott (see below). This catena concept was essentially constructed during field work Milne and others conducted in Tanganyika, and reflects the understanding these early surveyors brought to field work. They utilised the very local, indigenous but sophisticated soil classification of farmers who had an intimate knowledge of soils which was based on topography. Milne‚s initial ideas are set out in a paper published in 1947 in the Journal of Ecology. Milne was also the primary author for the ambitious 1936 Provisional Soil Map of east Africa at a scale of 1:2 million, which covered Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar (held in WOSSAC - Tanzania File WOSSAC#42187). He also published notable summary papers which are held in the WOSSAC archive (Milne, 1935, 1937; 1938a; 1938b) By the 1950s Tanzania was producing national soil survey maps at a scale of 1:3 million.

Another area where Tanzania contributed pioneering studies was in ethnopedology, and Morsion (1948) following the pioneering work of Milne produced one of the first and best soil surveys that took detailed account of farmers' perceptions of soils and their management, and included a description of the indigenous Sukuma system of soil classification.

The other fundamental principle which contributed to the development of the study of soils and which was also rooted in the colonial experience in Tanganyika was the failure of the ambitious East African Groundnut Scheme immediately after World War II. This embarrassing experience which failed to produce any meaningful quantities of groundnuts, which were to be used for precious edible oils in the period of post war shortage in Britain, was to influence how all subsequent commercial agricultural schemes in Africa were planned. Sites considered to be suitable for groundnuts were identified in 1946, but multiple problems including unreliable rainfall and most importantly the largely infertile soils which also had the problem of being stony and difficult to cultivate with machinery, led to the collapse of this ambitious endeavour. The failure of this scheme, abandoned by 1949, implanted the requirement for rigorous land assessments before embarking on any agricultural scheme into the thinking of all subsequent planners and boosted the status of soil surveys and also evaluation in the decades which followed. One outcome from this initiative however is a Survey of the Soils in the Kongwa and Nachingwea Districts published in 1957.

As early example of the importance of land evaluation is provided by the work of the surveys charged with mapping the proposed route of the Central Africa Rail link during the early 1950s, which is also held in the WOSSAC papers. The value of soil investigations was now firmly established in the mindset of the colonial officials and funds were found for remarkably comprehensive national reconnaissance surveys in this period. W.E. Calton produced An Experimental Pedological Map of Tanganyika (scale 1:4m) in 1954, based on Geoffrey Milne's 1936 East African Soil Map of East Africa (WOSSAC File tbc.) with revisions in light of recent work done by C.G.T. Morison, B. Anderson, A.M. M. Spurr and the Staff of the Soil Chemists Department. There was in addition a reconnaissance level survey of the Rufiji Basin in 1961 which deserved inclusion in this category of reconnaissance mapping. In 1956, the Survey Division of the Department of Lands and Surveys produced an ‘Atlas of East Africa - Tanganyika’ including in its Physical Section maps for the themes Physiographical, Physical, Geological and Soil.

Post-Independence Soil Mapping

An important contribution to soils and land resources work in Tanzania was made by two early agricultural scientists both called Anderson, who began work prior to independence but published maps and reports post 1961. Brian Anderson was appointed as an Analytical Chemist for the Research Section of the Groundnut Scheme in 1947. He commenced his soil survey activities in 1951 conducting local surveys throughout the county. He was joined in 1958 by Gordon Anderson. Using Milne's reconnaissance map as a basis the two slowly increased the knowledge base via a series of local surveys throughout the country. In 1963, Brian Anderson produced, Soils of Tanzania. Ministry of Agriculture Bulletin No. 16, and in 1967 Gordon Anderson produced a further refinement of the Soils Map of Tanzania in the 4th Edition of the Tanzania Atlas. Also during this important period for land resource work, R.M. Scott produced a Soil Topography Association Map in 1963. Soils information compiled by the Andersons and their colleagues provided the country input to the Soil Map of Africa published by the Inter-African Pedological Service under the direction of J.L. D'Hoore in 1967. This use an international classification system based on soil physical and chemical characteristics.

Following Independence in 1961, the new Government commissioned a number of surveys such as the Lower Mgeta survey of 1965, funded by the UK Ministry of Overseas Development (ODA). These surveys typically encompassed the complete spectrum of natural resources including soils, and vegetation, land use and forestry. The aim of such surveys was to stimulate regional or district level development through integrated programmes and the mapping of the resources was viewed as a foundation for any planned developmental initiatives.

In 1967, the Food and Agriculture Organisation seconded Robert Baker to the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives as Senior Soil Surveyor and provided the funds to undertake a full reconnaissance soil survey of the entire county. The country was divided into four quadrants with a team of surveyors placed at a research institution in each quarter. The field survey commenced in September 1967 and was completed in July 1969. These four reports formed the basis for R.M. Baker's ‘The Soils of Tanzania’ which was published by FAO in 1970. This report is not held in WOSSAC but three of the four field survey reports ares.

Much later the work of the Land Resources Division, (LRD) an agency of the UK government, produced a great volume of land resource material for the Tabora region and Mtwara/Lindi regions, during the late 1970s and 1980s. These surveys which were carried out large teams of expatriate and local surveyors typically produced soils and land use information, but extended this to generate village planning, and farm management level documents. These surveys provide valuable insights into specific areas in great detail. However the expense and manpower involved in these very detailed assessments began to be questioned and this era of surveys is now consigned to the historical record. By 1980 the focus was again of central planning and the ambitious, Soil Atlas of Tanzania includes 49 map sheets at a variety of scales. This edition of the atlas was published in 1983 by S.A. Hathout. This is a valuable edition as the atlas includes the earlier maps of Milne, Scott, and Carlton and the Andersons.

This phase of externally resourced and executed land resources surveys produced an interesting international comparison of methodologies in the coastal regions, with the British mapping the south, the Canadians the centre, and the Germans the north. All three were high quality efforts and are compatible.

Thematic Assessments

Parallel to these large scale surveys were a number of thematic assessments designed to provide limited information or the suitability of land for a specific undertaking, and carried out in the period from 1960 to the late 1980s. A significant number of these surveys have been archived within WOSSAC. The earlier experience of the Groundnut Scheme had underlined the need for this detailed information to prevent over ambitious commercial agricultural investment in the absence of proper surveys. Surveys for Sisal production (Kwamdulu); tea estates (Bulwa and Mufindi (a project undertaken by Silsoe College staff from Cranfield University); Navy Beans (Maramba); cocoa (Maramba); and cotton (Rufiji Basin) are typical of these surveys at a variety of scales often less than 1:50,000. There are multiple surveys to encourage the tea industry in southern Tanzania at this time for example.

Other specific examples of land assessments are early surveys to understand the unique nature of the Tanzanian wildlife areas. Surveys of the Serengeti Plains (1965); Ngorangoro Crater (1973); and the Mkomazi Game Reserve (1967), are archived. There are also later documents relating to the resources of the Serengeti plains produced in 1992.

River Basin and Forestry Resource Assessments

The archive holds material from an early assessment of the Rufiji Basin from 1961 and this was followed by evaluations of the Pangani (1962), the Kagera basin (1976), which also contains useful material on Rwanda; and the Maharunga drainage basin in 1977. A decade later this fashion for Master plans using river valleys as the unit of survey was renewed and in 1988 the Tango Master Plan study was produced, with accompanying sets of maps.

Concern over environmental pressures and the supply of fuel wood also led to surveys being commissioned which evaluated the Catchment Forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains and also the Pare Mountains in the 1990s.

National Land Cover Mapping

The most recent comprehensive assessment was the ambitious Tanzania land Cover Mapping Project carried out by Hunting Technical Services for the Government of Tanzania in the late 1990s. This satellite based assessment with rigorous ground checking resulted in map sheets at a scale of 1:250,000, and the archive holds over 50 map sheets from this survey. Parallel to this national effort there also exists the results of a National Reconnaissance Level Land Use and Natural Resources Project, completed in 1997, for which documents are archived.

Natural Resource Surveys in Zanzibar and Pemba

Unsurprisingly, the documents held for these two islands mirror the natural resources work carried out on the mainland. In the late 1940s soil surveys were carried out by W. E. Carlton who conducted a reconnaissance soils survey of of both Zanzibar and Pemba and in 1954 published a simplified map of both islands. A land evaluation of both islands, commissioned by FAO, Evaluation of Land Resources in Zanzibar, reports published in 1990 are a comprehensive record of the main island. One further report by HTS in 1994 addressing the need for an Integrated Environmental Management Project completes the collection.

The Beginnings for Land Information Systems in Tanzania

There has been a history in Tanzania of attempts to centralise and consolidate land resource documents, including materials which reach back to the 1960s when scientists at the University of Dar es Salaam set up the Bureau of Resource Assessment and Land Use Planning (BRALUP). This effort was supported by international donors including the UK Overseas Development Administration and staff was seconded to Tanzania from the Land Resources Division. One significant output from this centre of excellence was the Rukwa Project, the final report for which is archived.

The Bureau later was re-launched as the Institute for Resource Assessment (IRA) and this agency is now the home of the Tanzanian Resource Information Centre (TANRIC), which has at its core the Tanzania Resource Information System (TANRIS).

The Tanzanian Natural Resources Information Centre (TANRIC)

In the early 1990s, much of the existing information on land use, natural resources and environmental degradation in Tanzania was out of date, general in nature, at small scale, and scatterd in coverage. Against this background a Tanzanian Tropical Forest Action Plan (TFAP) was established and, in 1991, the Forest Resources Management Project (FRMP) was initiated with funding provided by the World Bank. The Tanzanian Natural Resources Information Centre (TANRIC) was proposed as a component of FRMP and The Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA), University of Dar es Salaam, was selected to house the Centre.

Under World Bank Project IDA CR2335-TA, the Cranfield University Soil Survey and Land Research Centre (now incorporated in the National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI), was contracted (1994-97) to develop TANRIS in close consultation with the IRA and the Forest Resources Management Centre, of which TANRIC is a part. The IRA is located at the University of Dar es Salaam and the aim of TANRIC was to establish an information base on resources, land-use and environmental conditions in Tanzania, capable to assist with development planning, resources management and environmental monitoring.

Another component of FRMP, closely related to TANRIC, is the National Reconnaissance Level Land Use and Natural Resources Mapping Project undertaken by Hunting Technical Services Ltd. (HTS), UK. This project produced a total of 64 maps, at a scale of 1:250,000, based on Satellite imagery 1994-96. The maps show general classes of land use (forest cover, agricultural land, grazing and settlement) and were available for deposit at TANRIC in April 1997.

The objectives of TANRIC were to collect and organise both point and spatial data on natural resources and the environment, to develop a computerised Information System to store, manipulate, retrieve and maintain such data, to act as a repository for publications on the natural environment for Tanzania, and to make natural resources information available to policy makers and other users.

The three major components of information management by the Centre had been established by 1997:

  • TANRIS the Tanzania Natural Resources Information System, a PC-based system for the storage and retrieval of relationally structured data;
  • TANRIC GIS, a Geographical Information System (GIS) for the digitisation, processing, storage and manipulation of geographic (spatial) data; and
  • TANRIC Reference Library of reports and books, including a Map Collection, about the natural resources of Tanzania'.

Data at TANRIC were organised into a number of broad categories - climate, forestry, infrastructure, population, soil, vegetation, water and wildlife; data for other categories such as archaeology, crops, fish/marine life and livestock were considered to be appropriate for addition later (than 1997).

On completion of the 1994-7 contract, TANRIS contained natural resource information together with software to query, update the data and produce reports. Six modules constituted the system: Metadatabase, Bibliography, Population, Expertise Profile, Meteorology and GIS Catalogue. A wide range of projects had been completed at the Centre during the short period that the GIS had been operational. These included: a population study of Dar es Salaam; Agro-economic zones; Rainfall and Soils for Tanzania; water resources in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area; and vegetation changes in the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi forest.

Profiles of Pioneer Tanzania Soil Scientists (1928-1970)

Early Tanganyika (now Tanzania) land development experience resulted in at least two advances in applied soil science that have been of benefit to soil scientists around the World. One was Geoffrey Milne’s formulation of the Catena as a Soil Association Mapping Unit and the other was the British Governments attempt to launch a major agriculture project - The Groundnut Scheme - without the benefit of any formal knowledge of the land resources of the areas selected . The former provided pedologists with a new tool in their skills box while the latter led to a programme of soil surveys throughout the world as a precursor to the funding of the majority of donor aided rural development projects.

In the British Colonial Service, the earliest soil scientists appointed to posts were called Chemist, Agricultural Chemist or Soil Chemist, their preliminary task being to analysis soil as a basis for fertiliser recommendations. A few of these chemists realised that if soil management and agricultural extension in general, were to be done other than on a farm-by-farm basis, then “a broader understanding of the nation’s land resource was required” . It was through some of the early Soil Chemists turning their hand to soil survey that began the work catalogued in the WOSSAC Archive.

In Tanganyika, the first soil chemist to address this task was Geoffrey Milne, a Soil Chemist based at the East African Agricultural Research Station at Amani. The Station was established by the German Colonial Administration in 1902 to undertake systematic test of indigenous and exotic tree species, and was known as the Biological Agricultural Research Station. This work continued under the British Government when it took over the administration of the country after World War One. In 1927-28, the Station was reconstructed and renamed the East African Agricultural Research Station. The research programme drawn up by the Station Director in 1927 included, among other soil related tasks “Surveys: The study of the basic types of East African soils, their characteristics, formation, distribution, and variation in relation to climatic and other influences. This work to be contributory to and correlated with the projected African soil Survey” . This apparently was a product of the 1927 Imperial Agriculture Research Conference at which Sir John Russell presented a paper on “A Proposed Soil Survey of those parts of Africa associated with the British Empire.” Having stated the need for describing and mapping the soils of countries where agricultural developments are in progress, Sir John added, “It has repeatedly happened that projects undertaken without sufficient knowledge of the soil have led to disappointment, much of which might have been avoided”. This intervention led to the establishment of the Imperial Bureau of Soil Science (IBSS) which had a brief to - among others - of “cooperating in the organisation of soil surveys within the Empire”.

It seems that the advice of Sir John Russell and the expertise of the IBSS were overlooked in the haste to develop the Groundnut Scheme in 1946, the primary purpose of which was to increase the availability of vegetable oil for the UK through the large-scale mechanised production of groundnuts. However, the failure of this project resulted in a worldwide effort to map the soil resources in advance of any agricultural development projects. While the failure was not alone due to the soil and climate characteristics of the chosen sites , these were an important factor, particularly the selection of the Central Province site at Kongwa. Kongwa was chosen as the first of the three locations to be developed. Arthur Bunting was appointed as Chief Scientific Officer and arrived in Tanganyika in January 1947, and started setting up his Scientific Department at Kongwa. When recruited Bunting asked John Wakefield , the leader the team that selected of the three project areas, what information was available. He was told by Wakefield that no basic information was available and that none of the team, including himself, “knew enough to judge which area was best”. “It’s your job to find any information you need,” he told Bunting . This seems inexplicable. Though Milne was no longer alive, Wakefield personally knew him and his soil survey reports , though he may not have been aware of Vageler or earlier travellers and their comments on the Kongwa area soils and climate, or that in the WaGogo vernacular Kongwa meant “the land of perpetual drought“ . Thus, it seems that while there was valuable soil information available to the Groundnut Scheme planners, it was not provided.

Bunting recruited Peter LeMare (whom he had earlier worked with at Rothamsted) as the Soil Chemist and Brian Anderson (as Analytical Chemist with Shadrack Tomi as his Laboratory Technician) to lead the soil investigation. When in 1951, it became clear that the scheme could not continue Arthur Bunting left Kongwa. The rest of his team stayed until 1952 when the Scientific Department was closed. Some of the research staff (including Brian Anderson) transferred to Government Service, while others went elsewhere. Peter LeMare joined the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation and was posted to the ECGC Research Station at Namulonge in Uganda. However, he was also in charge of the ECGC soil research at Ukiriguru and thus spent one quarter of his time there until about 1956 when Adriel Kabaara took over the Ukiriguru work. In 1963, the two switched places, with LeMare returning to Tanzania and Kabarra moving to Uganda. LeMare left Tanzania in 1969 when he resigned from the ECGC and took up a position at Reading University.

Paul W.E.Vageler (1892 - 1963)

Vageler was an agricultural scientist, who in 1910 became Privatdozent at the University Königsberg in East Prussia, Germany (now Russian Federation). In 1909 and 1911, he undertook expeditions in German East Africa as well as an expedition to Namibia. He wrote a book, entitled An introduction to tropical soils, Macmillan, (1933) . Geoffrey Milne refers to the contribution of Vageler in his soil survey work in East Africa.

Geoffrey Milne (1898 - 1941)

Geoffrey Milne

Geoffrey Milne was posted to the East African Agricultural Research Station at Amani as a Soil Chemist in 1928, with, among other tasks, responsibility for organising and carrying out a soil survey of the four East African Provinces (Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Kenya and Uganda . Milne came to East Africa with a background of: a 1st Class hon. BSc Chemistry 1921 & MSc Chemistry 1924 from the University of Leeds, some 5 years’ experience as a lecturer in Agriculture Chemistry, and 4 years as a member of the Ministry of Agriculture Soil Survey Committee during which time he was also an adviser to county agricultural staffs and particularly concerned with the Soil Survey of the Vale of York . Apparently, he had an exceptional talent as a research scientist and the ability to attract the collaboration of others interested in the fields related to agriculture, botany and geography. These included Clement Gilman , Bernard Burtt .

While his main task was to contributory to and correlated with the projected East African Soil Survey, he was occasionally asked for his recommendations on management of the soils from commercial estates that were analysed in his laboratory. In such cases he would seek permission to visit the sample sites so he could get a broader understanding of soils and their environment (see WOSSAC file WOSSAC#44725). Meanwhile he was working with fellow Soil Chemists in Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar in planning a Soil Survey for the whole of East Africa.

In 1935, he spent three months travelling through parts of Tanganyika, and then published what became the first Soil Survey of the Country  (for the full report see WOSAC File WOSSAC#44718). It was during this latter trip that he saw what his colleague W.S. Martin have noticed in Uganda “A regular repetition of soil profiles in association with a certain topography” (i.e. uniformity of a sequence of soil profiles down a slope). This phenomenon is commonly found to occur on mature topography underlain by a uniform geology and, particularly, in dry savannah areas where water and bases leached out of the upper soils accumulate lower down, affecting clay mineral weathering, colour, base status, & free lime. An example of such an association is the sketch of the Ukiriguru Catena shown in the figure. Topo-sequences in moister areas are not as spectacular because the leaching is greater, and the bases keep on moving into the stream waters. In areas where the geology was more complex this simplicity does not occur.

Recognising that varieties of soils do not occur haphazardly, he proposed the establishment of two new units for mapping soils - the Catena and the Fasc. The Catena (Latin for chain) is essentially a natural system of classification on account of fundamental genetic morphological differences are linked in their occurrence by conditions of topography and are repeated in some relationship to each other wherever the same conditions are met. The Fasc (Latin fascia for Bundle) being defined as a group of soils with similar conditions pedogenesis but differing in degree of maturity, in the effect of man’s intervention in soil development, in the effect s of changes of vegetation or in the sum total of small effects due to their being geographically distant in occurrence. While the Catena has been adopted, the term Fasc’ has not been although a similar concept is in use in the term soils ‘family’.

This observation allowed Milne to map large parts of the country without actually visiting the areas. Milne also was perhaps the first soil surveyor to introduce the concept of ethno-pedology, by using the vernacular that the people local to the area of a soil of specific interest, i.e. the WaSukuma terminology for the soils identified in the Ukiriguru Catena are those shown in italics in Figure 1.

Ukiriguru catena

Figure 1: The Ukiriguru Soil Catena (Milne, 1936)

Also in this report, Milne makes several mentions of Vageler’s earlier visits including the following: “From this work of Vageler’s it is clear, and slight acquaintance with the ground confirms, that Ugogo offers an exceptional field for the kind of investigation that is much needed, namely, an experimental semi-intensive soil and vegetation survey of a semi-arid area”.

Milne followed his Tanganyika reconnaissance soils journey with visits to Kenya and Uganda in 1936 and published a Provisional Soil Map of East Africa (see WOSSAC File WOSSAC#42187). In expanding his knowledge of the soils of Tanganyika, Milne had the support and advice of his wife Kathleen who was a geographer, and colleagues with complementary interests. Milne submitted his report as a Government document in 1936, but it was not internationally available until 1947 when it appeared in the Journal of Ecology, Vol. XXXV, Nos. 1 and 2, (see WOSSAC File WOSSAC#131), the final preparation being made by his friend and colleague Clement Gillman. However, the Catena concept had already started to get wider recognition with papers presented at the Third International Congress of Soil Science and a concise 700-word account in Nature in 1936. Following his death, Kathleen gathered up his papers and wrote a detailed account of his life. These documents are now reserved in Rhodes House Library, Oxford.

W.E. Calton (-)

W.E. Calton appears to have been posted to Amani with Milne before 1932 . He is acknowledged as having undertaken ‘much of the analytical work on the soils of the four East African Provinces’ for the Provisional Soil Map published by Milne et al. in 1936. Sometime between 1941 and October 1945, he replaced W.E. Raymond  as the Government Chemist in Dar-es-Salaam . It appears that Calton took Milne’s broad interest in the country soils and during his tenure was responsible for most soils work, apart from the Tanganyika Agricultural Corporation Groundnut Projects at Kongwa, Natchingwea and Urambo. In 1949, Calton undertook a reconnaissance soil survey of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and like Milne in his description of the Ukiriguru Catena used locally understood names for the soil types. In April 1954, he published An Experimental Pedological Map of Tanganyika  based on G. Milne’s 1936 East African Soil Map with revisions in the light of recent work done by C.G.T. Morison, B. Anderson and A.M.M. Spurr and the Staff of the Government Chemists Department. During Calton’s tenure as Chief Scientist, the majority of Tanganyika Research Stations were established. Ukiriguru was first established in 1930 as a Government seed farm and then as an experimental station two years later and in 1939 became the base for the Empire Cotton Growing Corporations activities in Tanzania. Lyamungu and Mlingano were established in 1934 and Ilonga in 1943, and Tengeru in 1959. It seems that these stations with the exception of Ukiriguru did not have a Soil Scientist on staff until after 1956, when the service was reorganised zonally. The main Zone Research Stations were Lyamungu (Coffee), Mlingano (Sisal), Ilonga (Livestock/Horticulture) and Ukiriguru (Cotton). The first Soil Scientist appointed to Ukiriguru was Peter LeMare of the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation in 1952. Later A.M. Kabaara and then John Samki (both Soil Chemists) were stationed at Ukiriguru. Gordon Anderson became the Soil Chemist at Tengeru in 1959. Richard M Baker was stationed at Lyamungu. Later B.N. Patel was at Ilonga and then Ukiriguru. It appears that the Soil Chemists at these stations, with the exception of Gordon Anderson, did not engage in land resource mapping.

M.B. Stent

Stent undertook “A Soil Survey of the Wheat areas in the Northern Province of Tanganyika” sometime between 1942 & 1945 as a report of this was published in 1946 by the East African Research Institute in the Amani Report 1942-45, p. 11-13.

Brian Anderson (1910 - 2003)

Brian Anderson and Shadrack Tomi in Laboratory Tent. Kongwa 1948 Brian Anderson

Photos show Brian Anderson, & Brian with Shadrack Tomi in Laboratory Tent. Kongwa 1948

Brian Anderson was posted to Tanganyika in September 1947 as the Analytical Chemist for the Research Section of the Groundnut Scheme to assist Peter LeMare (the project Soil Chemist) with fertiliser experiments. After the Food Corporation received the Charter Report in 1951 confirming that the sites chosen for the Groundnut Scheme were largely unsuitable, he turned his attention to soil survey, starting with surveys of Kongwa (in Central Province) and Natchingwea (in Southern Province), two of the three Ground Nut Scheme areas. His reports of these survey, with four maps of 1:25,000 scale, were published by Reading University in 1957 (see WOSSAC Files WOSSAC#69, WOSSAC#2134, WOSSAC#41464 & WOSSAC#42752) In 1956 he was then seconded to the F.A.O. team undertaking a survey for possible irrigation development in the Kilumbero Valley. The 1960 FAO report contained three of his reconnaissance soil maps (Scale 1:125,000) covering over 3 million acres [approximately 1.215 m ha) on three possible sites (see WOSSAC Files WOSSAC#1532, WOSSAC#42203, WOSSAC#42204, WOSSAC#42205 & WOSSAC#42207). In 1963, he prepared a booklet on the Soils of Tanganyika for use by Agricultural Officers and similar non-scientific staff describing some of the chief soils of the country (see WOSSAC file WOSSAC#36326). Brian was also a Botanist and left a substantial number of plants, gathered from various parts of the country. These were deposited at the Royal Botanic Gardens (at Kew) with replicates at the National Herbarium of Tanzania/Food Corporation Herbarium (Arusha), the Herbarium, Jardin Botanique (at Meise, Belgium), the National Museums of Kenya (in Nairobi) and the Tanzania Forest Division Herbarium (at Lushoto). Brian Anderson left Tanzania in 1962 to join the study of the Niger Delta.

Gordon Anderson (1932 - 2009)

Gordon Anderson

With a PhD in Agricultural Chemistry from King‚s College, Newcastle upon Tyne (then part of University of Durham) Gordon joined the Colonial Service and in November 1958, was posted to Tanganyika Initially he was posted to understudy Brian Anderson on his survey of the Nachingwea area of the Groundnut Scheme. As he had previously gained soil survey experience while undertaking his studies, in April 1959, he commenced a survey of the forested and settled Marimba and Muhenza areas of the Usambara Foothills to assess soil suitability of for increased cocoa production. Completing this in late 1959, he was posted to the Northern Research Centre at Tengeru, Arusha to set up a new soils laboratory. He continued to undertake soil surveys, the main one of which was the semi-detailed survey of the southern and eastern footslopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, but the greater part of his time was spent on soils fertility studies and advising land planning, agricultural, and rangeland officers. In all this, he made a significant contribution to the understanding of the soils and their suitability for various crops in Northeastern Tanzania. In 1964, he researched and prepared the Soil Map of Tanzania that was included in the 1967 Atlas of Tanzania. When the Tengeru research station as taken over by the East African Community in 1968, all the research workers were relocated. At this point Anderson returned to the UK but soon returned to Africa as Readership in Agricultural (Soil) Science at the University of Zambia and then in 1971 moved to the Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry at Makerere University in Uganda. In 1973 He returned to the UK, where he remained, first working for ADAS involved research into hill land improvement, advisory work with farmers and horticulturalists, and then in 1980 resigned and retired to a farm in the Scottish Borders.

Peter LeMare Profile (1922 - 2018)

Peter LeMare, 2015Peter LeMare, 1947

In the final year of his BSc at Birkbeck College, LeMare received a letter from Dr. A.H. Bunting (whom he had known when he previously worked at Rothamsted) saying that he (Bunting) had been appointed Chief Scientific Officer for the Groundnut Scheme in Tanganyika and inquiring whether Peter would be interested in joining him as a soil chemist. That agreed, Peter focused on successfully completing his degree and in October 1947 arrived in Tanganyika and reported to Kongwa where the Scientific Department was based. He was appointed to organise field experiments to measure the needs for fertiliser in the three areas of Tanganyika proposed for the production of groundnuts (he also did a few experiments Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). He prepared the plans, organized the combinations of fertilizers necessary for each plot, collated and analysed the data for the three regions and wrote annual reports. There were additional chemists or agronomists in each region who looked after the field work although LeMare also did that in each region when no one else was available or extra hands were needed, but this was mainly in Kongwa area. Over 200 field experiments on soil fertility problems in Southern, Central and Western Provinces of Tanganyika were undertaken and the results published in the Empire Journal of Experimental Agriculture in 1959. While this research identified soil fertility limitations in each of the scheme areas, these were not the main factors leading to the abandonment of the Scheme. The main limiting factors were either soil physical and/or other environmental characteristics (e.g. the tendency of the soil to harden when dry making it difficult the harvest the groundnuts, which coupled with the inadequate total and poorly distributed rainfall that severely reduced yields made production uneconomic at Kongwa, Rosette Virus in Western Province and logistical problems in Southern Province. When the Groundnut Scheme closed, LeMare joined the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation (which later was renamed the Cotton Research Corporation) and was posted to their new Research Station at Namalonge, Uganda. However, his terms of reference included that he should spend one quarter of his time at Ukiriguru (in Tanganyika) where ECGC was also engaged in Cotton Research, thus becoming the first Soil Scientist appointed to Ukiriguru. It soon became apparent that a part time chemist was not adequate for the needs of Ukiriguru so A.M. Kabaara, one of the first East African chemistry graduates (London degree from Makerere College), was appointed to work full time at Ukiriguru. In 1963, LeMare took charge of the cotton research team at Ukiriguru and Kabaara moved to Namulonge. In 1969, LeMare resigned from the Cotton Research Corporation (as it was by then known) and returned to the UK. He spent the next three years at Rothamstead continuing his Namulonge research on the unusual reaction superphosphate fertiliser in high manganese soils. He successfully submitted his finding for a PhD at Reading in 1973. From then until his retirement in 1988, he was a member of the Reading Soil Science Department but employed by the UK Government to research soil fertility problems in tropical soils.

Photos show Peter Le Mare in 1947 and 2015

Others (1945 - 1970)

In addition to the above mentioned, a number of other soils scientists have been involved in the study of Tanganyika soils, but spent significantly less time in the country and were mainly engaged in the more detailed soils surveys on smaller areas. The following are the pioneers (those studying the soil resources prior to 1970) of which we are currently aware.


Vail was a Soil Chemist under Calton in the Government Chemist Dept. He co-authored a number of papers on nutrient deficiency between 1957 and 1970, but it seems did not undertake any soil classification.

C.G.T. Morison

After working at Rothamsted on the coagulation of clay suspension with calcium compounds, Morison was appointed Demonstration in Agriculture Chemist at Somerville College Oxford in 1909 and promoted to reader in 1923. Then in 1932, Morison was appointed Reader in Soil Science at Oxford. In addition, he undertook soil surveys in Sudan and Tanganyika (see below), Morrison was a founding member and the first President of the British Society of Soil Science when it formed in early 1947. Following his retirement from Oxford in 1948, Morison continued to be professionally involved - for example see

  • Morison CGT. (1948) The Soils of Sukumaland, Tanganyika. Journal of Ecology v36, pp 1-84
  • Morison, CGT. & Wright, B.I. (1951) The Soils of Sukumaland. Tanganyika Ministry of Agriculture.

P.E. Glover

In 1949, Glover prepared a “Report on the vegetation, soils and ecology of the blocks A, B and C, Southern Province” for the O.F.C. Southern Province. Unpublished. [O.F.C. is the Overseas Food Corporation, so this must be the Nachingwea area of the Groundnut Scheme]

Cecil F Charter

In 1950, C. F. Charter , then Director of Soil and Land Use Surveys in the Gold Coast (Ghana), was invited by the Overseas Food Corporation to do a one-month field survey of the Nachingwea Ground Nut Area. His report “Report on the environmental conditions prevailing in block ’A‚, Southern Province, Tanganyika Territory, with special reference to the large-scale mechanised production of groundnuts” was published in 1958 by the Government Printing Department, Kumasi, Ghana. The critical nature of this report important in the growing realisation of the failure of the Groundnut Scheme and let to Brian Anderson leaving the laboratory and commencing the soil survey of Kongwa and Nachingwea project areas.

Arthur Michael Marshal Spurr (1930-2012)

Arthur Spurr  was appointed as a Geologist by the Colonial Government in 1949  and posted to Dodoma. It is not clear when he left Tanganyika but he was back in England by November 1965 . Later he seems to have been in New South Wales and then in England with La Farge Aggregates. Though most of his Tanzania record is that of a Geologist, he undertook a survey of The Soils of Mbozi. This was published in 1954, probably in relation to his involvement in the mapping of the geology of the Mbozi area . Geological Survey Dept. Bulletin No. 24 (1955). Map scale 1:100,000. The report has 13 mapping units plus 6 complexes - broad groupings (e.g. red earths, Mbuga soils, silt loams - and includes profile descriptions and a brief discussion of agricultural potential.

T.W.G. Dames

In 1959, Dames prepared a “Report on the Soils of the Pangani Valley” which was published by F.A.O. Rome. The map scale was 1:100,000. The report includes API and ground survey, mapping units: soil associations on parent material, land use potential, irrigation suitability map showing 6 classes. Profile descriptions and analysis are included.

Adriel M. Kabaara

Adriel M. Kabaara was one of the first Kenyan Chemistry graduates with a London degree from Makerere College, Kampala. He joined the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation (from 1966 the Cotton Research Corporation) about 1956 and was appointed Soil Chemist at Ukiriguru. In 1963, he exchanged places with Peter Le Mare, Peter moving to Ukiriguru and Adriel Kabaara to Namulonge. Later he became the director of the Jacaranda Coffee Research Station near Ruiru, Kenya, and then he held a similar post in Papua New Guinea.

R.M. Scott

In 1963, Scott undertook “A reconnaissance survey of Oljoro Region, Tanganyika, Arusha” which was published in the Development Plan, Phase II, Part I. Map scale was 1: 25,000 and contained nine mapping units. Scott may have been attached to EAFFRO as his had participated earlier is creating a soil map of Kenya. Scott appears to have been based in Kenya at the time for in the same year he completed a survey of the Soils of the Nairobi-Thika-Yatta-Machakos Area of Kenya.

John K. Samki

John, perhaps the first Tanzanian to obtain a degree in Agriculture Science (from New Zealand’s Lincoln University), joined the Government staff at Ukiriguru Research Station but in 1968 moved to the Ministry in Dar-es-Salaam. He later became the Director and Research Co-ordinator, Ministry of Agriculture Agricultural Research Institute at Mlingano. In 1977, he prepared a Provisional Soils Map of Tanzania (Scale 1:2,000,000) which was published by the Tanzanian Geological Survey Department.

T.M. Addiscott (b. 1942)

Tom Addiscott read Chemistry at Oxford, doing the Part ll of the course in the Soil Science Laboratory with Peter Nye. In 1964, he went as a UNA International Service volunteer to Tanzania where he worked under Peter Le Mare at Ukiriguru developing a method for using Schofield’s Phosphate Potential as a means of assessing phosphate availability in Tanzanian soils. The initial development work was done on the sandy Itongo soil of the Ukiriguru catena (see sketch in G. Milne above) and the resulting method was applied to 56 soils from the West and North-West regions of the country, ranging in catenary terms from the reddish sandy Itongo soils to black montmorilloniitic Mbuga or ‘Black Cotton’ soils [ref Addiscott T. M. (1969) E. Afr. Agric. For J. 35, 21-27 & J. Agric. Sci., Camb. 72, 401-403 and LeMare, P.H et al. (1965) Prog. Rep. Exp. Stns West Tanzania 1964-65C.R.C.]

On his return to the UK in 1965, Tom Addiscott worked in both the organizations founded by Sir John Bennet Lawes, spending one year in the Lawes Chemical Company and 36 years at Rothamsted Experimental Station, retiring in 2002. Much of his work involved computer modelling of soil processes, including leaching of nitrate and later phosphate, and mineralization and crop uptake of N. He also took a strong interest in the philosophy and pitfalls of modelling. He published two books and about 150 miscellaneous articles, about half of which were in refereed journals. In 1991, he was awarded the Research Gold Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England for his work on the computer prediction of N requirement by crops.

Tom Addiscott retained his interest in East Africa into later life and was active in the charity FARM Africa, going on field trips to Kenya and Tanzania in 1999 and Ethiopia in 2001 and was County Organizer for Hertfordshire from 2005 to 2009.

Vince Souza Machado

After obtaining a Degree in Agriculture from Reading and a DTA from The Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad) Vince Machado joined the Colonial Service and was posted to the Gambia as an Agricultural Officer. When Gambia gained independence in 1964, Machado moved to Tanzania where he was posted to Ukiriguru where until 1966 he was seconded to the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation to work with Peter LeMare on fertilizer trials on cotton in farmers’ fields. He then took the post of Senior Agronomist at the Kawanda Research Station in Uganda where he was involved with an extensive program of fertilizer trials throughout the country on cotton, maize and groundnuts. In 1973, he emigrated to Canada, and after first working with Agriculture Canada registered in the PhD programme at Guelph University. On successful completion of his degree he obtained a faculty position there in the Horticulture Department. He is currently Plant Agriculture Professor Emeritus at Guelph University.

G.A. Stiven

Stiven was the Soil Chemist appointed by the Cotton Research Corporation to follow Peter LeMare in 1969. He left in 1974 when his contract was not renewed.

B.N. Patel

Government Chemist at Ilonga in 1969, transferred to Ukiriguru Research Station.

Robert M. Baker and the 1967-1969 Reconnaissance Soil Survey of Tanzania

Following independence in 1964, the Tanzania Government approached the World Bank for Land Development Loans. However, given the history of large-scale development in Tanzania (e.g. the Groundnut Scheme) the Bank would not lend Tanzania any money until they undertook a countrywide soil survey. The Government approached F.A.O. and other donors for assistance in conducting the survey. F.A.O. agreed to provide a Senior Soil Surveyor and the US Peace Corp agreed to the field personnel. F.A.O. seconded Robert M. Baker, an Australian, who, as Senior Soil Scientist in the Ministry of Agriculture oversaw the project. US Peace Corps recruited four recent soil science graduates along with four other agricultural graduates. These were: Thomas J. Sheehy and Henry S. Green based at Tengeru Agricultural Research Station. Allan E. Tiarks and Robert A. Johnson based at Ilonga Agricultural Research Station. John Reinsborough and Alan R. Wengell based at Ukiriguru Research Station. William Duckworth and George Sturtz based in the Land Planning Office in Mbeya. In August 1968, R. Wayne Borden (a Canadian graduate soil scientist) was seconded to NW team as a replacement for Alan Wengell who had contracted hepatitis, and then stayed on when he recovered to take the place of John Reinsborough who had decided to return home early. The field survey was completed in July 1969 and the Peace Corp field team left Tanzania. Bob Baker then prepared the final report and arranged publication . This came out as a National Government publication in 1970 entitled The Soils of Tanzania. Bob Baker then left Tanzania. Wayne Borden also left in 1970 after completing two further surveys. The WOSSAC Archive contains two of the four field studies that led to the final Soils of Tanzania Report. WOSSAC File WOSSAC#41600 is a draft copy of the NE quadrant draft report and WOSSAC File WOSSAC#41609 is the NW quadrant draft report. WOSSAC has yet to obtain copies of the draft reports for the SE and SW and of the final report.

R.W. Borden (1939)

Wayne Borden, 2017

Wayne Borden was a Canadian Soil Scientist on a two-year contract attached to the Senior Research Officers Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. On arrival he was seconded to the Tanzania Soil Survey to replace one of the survey team based at Ukiriguru. On completion of that survey in mid-1969, he was assigned to the UNDP Sheep and Wheat Scheme at Kitulo in western Njombe District, to undertake a soil survey of the highlands above 6500 feet (selected as this was considered the elevation above which maize could be grown. Mapping was done at a scale of 1:125,000 and covered 14 soil units based on colour, texture and parent material. Twelve profile descriptions were made and samples of these taken and analysed. This was published by F.A.O. Rome in 1970 as “The Land Resources of Western Njombe District” (see WOSSAC File WOSSAC#36327). This was followed by a detailed soil survey of the Uyole Agriculture Research Station at Mbeya. It is unlikely that this report was ever published. Borden returned to Tanzania in 1982 and 1985. The reports of these latter visits can be seen in WOSSAC Files WOSSAC#41885 & WOSSAC#41964.

Abdul H. Kishimba

Abdul Kishimba returned to Tanzania in 1969 with a degree in Soil Science from Sweden and was assigned to the Land Planning Office in Mbeya to work with R.W. Borden on the Soil Survey of the highland of Western Njombe District and then the Uyole Agriculture Research Farm at Mbeya. He later moved to Land Planning Headquarters in Dar-es-Salaam.

WOSSAC is grateful to Wayne Borden, Brian Kerr and Dr Ian Baillie for drawing this article together


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