Brown earth is the term for a type of zonal soil which commonly develops in lowlands, under deciduous trees or scrub vegetation. It is slightly acidic, encourages growth of woodlands, tall grasses, and scrub plants, and is easy to cultivate. Oak, beech, alder, and larch are all species which grow quite well in brown earth.

It is a freely drained, primarily mineral soil, with a deep surface horizon of well-mixed humus. Most soils in England are leached brown earth soils, but brown earth is less common in England's north. Brown earth, as rich as it is in potassium and magnesium, is used in China for growing tea. The Shandong province is the best in which to find such earth.

Brown earth also refers to soils that require replanting or restoration, particularly in damaged wetland habitats.

Not entirely related, there is also a Brown Earth, Dakota, and in 1958, Pete Seeger wrote the song To My Old Brown Earth on the Grammy-winning album Pete. I wonder if there is not a pun somehow, what with "brown earth" and "peat".

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