© Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd 2010

D. M. Leslie

The importance of the soil factor in plant production has long been recognised in Pacific Island countries. Within traditional agricultural systems, variations in soils are frequently reflected by differences in crop production patterns and soil management practices.

Land use is dynamic and responds to economic, social and population pressures. Most Pacific Island countries depend heavily on agriculture for income. Agricultural development within a context of profitability, social desirability, and environmental conservation is a national objective. Such changing needs and pressures focus attention on the necessity for soil resource information. Soil science can provide the soil-related information necessary to help minimise the risks associated with evolving agriculturical systems during the initial, and most vulnerable, stages of development. It was within this framework that soil resource studies and soil research were instigated by NZ Soil Bureau, DSIR, in various countries of the South West Pacific.