The total natural and cultural environment within which production takes place; a broader term than soil. In addition to soil, its attributes include other physical conditions, such as mineral deposits, climate, and water supply; location in relation to centers of commerce, populations, and other land; the size of the individual tracts or holdings; and existing plant cover, works of improvement, and the like. Some use the term loosely in other senses; as defined above but without the economic or cultural criteria; especially in the expression "natural land"; as a synonym for "soil"; for the solid surface of the earth; and also for earthly surface formations, especially in geomorphological expression "land form."
Society for Range Management. 1998. Glossary of terms used in range management, fourth edition. Edited by the Glossary Update Task Group, Thomas E. Bedell, Chairman. Used with permission.