Minimum data set (MDS)

The smallest set of soil properties that can be used to characterize or measure soil quality. The MDS will vary based on the intended land use, soil type, and climate. The first MDS was suggested by Larson and Pierce and included the following: nutrient availability, total organic C, particle size or texture, labile organic C, plant-available water capacity, soil structure, soil strength, maximum rooting depth, pH, and electrical conductivity.