Mollisols in the islands of the South-West Pacific: Occurrence, land uses and classification
Mollisols are naturally fertile soils with a thick, friable, very dark coloured, organic rich, surface layer (mollic epipedon). Soils literature for 20 South Pacific island countries was examined for information on Mollisols; of these countries, 16 had confirmed Mollisols. Given the basic concept of Mollisols (continental grassland soils), this was an unexpected prevalence. Classifications using the USDA Soil Taxonomy identified 4 suborders, 10 great groups, and 33 subgroups of Mollisols occurring in the South Pacific region. Some taxonomic issues were identified, and these are addressed and changes to better accommodate Mollisols important for the South Pacific region are suggested. The importance of Mollisols in the region is summarised by reviewing their occurrence and uses, especially in food production.