In this monograph, based on many years of research by the author, systematization and generalization of soil and cartographic materials of the Siberian Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as the use of a large number of literary and fund sources, the characteristics of soil formation and soil cover in the Irkutsk region are given. It is shown that, due to the great extent of the territory of the region from north to south and from west to east, the heterogeneity of the relief, geological structure, climatic conditions and vegetation, the soil cover is characterized by a complex structure and a wide variety of soil types. Based on the latest research and modern ideas on the genesis of soils, a systematic description of the soils and their... diagnostics is given, specific features of the temperature and water regimes of seasonally frozen soils, the structure of the soil profile, physical and chemical properties are reported, which inform the regional features of the soils forming here, determining the fertility of soils and Ways of their rational use in agricultural production. A new scheme for soil-geographical zoning of the territory of the Irkutsk region was developed, which was used as the basis for the soil map of the Irkutsk region at a scale of 1:1 500 000, published by the USSR in 1988. Areas of soil zones, sub-zones and districts were determined and the degree of their agricultural use was indicated. The calculations of the areas of the main types of soils along the soil zones, subareas and districts used in agriculture are given. The data contained in the monograph make it possible to assess the potential for further agricultural development of soils both in the southern regions of the region and in the north - in areas of new industrial construction and in the zone of the western section of the BAM. The work can serve as an explanatory note to the soil map of the Irkutsk region at a scale of 1: 1 500 000, published in 1988. This is the Chapter 1 of the 1-st part of monograph.