The Soil Science Society of Poland has elected chernozem to be the Soil of the Year 2019. Although chernozems cover less than 2% of Poland, they have high importance for agriculture due to their productivity and play a specific scientific role for understanding of soil development and functioning in an environment. Chernozems are also crucial for the reconstruction of Neolithic agriculture development and human impacts on soil and landscape. This introductory paper presents (a) a specific definition of chernozem in Poland, connected with a separate distinction of black earths and colluvial chernozemic soils; (b) a review of the present and former classification schemes for chernozems in Poland and their correlation with international soil classification systems (WRB and Soil Taxonomy); (c) the spatial distribution of chernozems in Poland, their agricultural evaluation and threats for chernozems’ quality and future existence related to intense land use.
Following the other pedological societies, the Soil Science Society of Poland has launched a programme „Soil of the Year”, and Rędzina (Rendzina) was selected as the soil inaugurating the programme in 2018. Polish term „rędzina” was internationally popularized by Stanisław Miklaszewski in the second/third decade of 20th century and is present in the most soil classification systems as „Rendzina”, „Rendoll”, or „Rendzic” until now. In the Polish tradition, the rendzinas are soils developed from massive rocks rich in calcite, dolomite or gypsum, quite often with admixtures of glacial/periglacial materials, at all development stages. Contemporary classifications of soils in Poland distinguish four main groups (as the types or sub-types): raw rendzina – Calcaric Lithic / Hyperskeletic Leptosols (a minimal thickness of regolith and an initial development of genetic horizons), proper rendzina – Calcaric Leptosols (medium thick profile, but diagnostic horizons are absent), brown rendzina – Calcaric Skeletic Cambisols (have a diagnostic cambic horizon), and chernozemic/humic rendzina – Rendzic Skeletic Phaeozems (have a diagnostic mollic horizon). Rendzina soils are featured by high content of calcium/magnesium, neutral and alkaline reaction, and high base saturation throughout the soil profile, but the individual soil subtypes differ significantly in their usability for agriculture and forestry, depending on the thickness of the soil profile (i.e. a depth to the hard rock or extremely skeletal subsoil), stoniness, texture, and humus content.
Piąte wydanie Systematyki gleb Polski umacnia zasadę klasyfikacji gleb w oparciu o ilościowo zdefiniowane poziomy i właściwości diagnostyczne. Nowe kryteria klasyfikacji bazują na podziałach międzynarodowych, jednak jednoczesne stosowanie rozwiązań zaczerpniętych z FAO-WRB i US Soil Taxonomy albo niekonsekwentne stosowanie ustalonych definicji jest powodem wewnętrznej niespójności klasyfikacji. Dalsze doskonalenie systematyki gleb Polski powinno objąć: wybórjednego międzynarodowego systemu referencyjnego dla poziomów i właściwości diagnostycznych, ustalenie hierarchii priorytetów klasyfikacyjnych i klucza do klasyfikacji gleb, doprecyzowanie definicji unikalnych poziomów diagnostycznych, opracowanie uniwersalnych zasad wyróżniania podtypów oraz doprecyzowanie kryteriów ilościowych na styku j ednostek. Należy również podj ąć próbę zmniej -szenia liczby typów i podtypów gleb, co może ułatwić odbiór, zrozumienie oraz nauczanie systematyki.
Soil with a clay-illuvial subsurface horizon are the most widespread soil type in Poland and significantly differ in morphology and properties developed under variable environmental conditions. Despite the long history of investigations, the rules of classification and cartography of clay-illuvial soils have been permanently discussed and modified. The distinction of clay-illuvial soils into three soil types, introduced to the Polish soil classification in 2011, has been criticized as excessively extended, non-coherent with the other parts and rules of the classification, hard to introduce in soil cartography and poorly correlated with the international soil classifications. One type of clay-illuvial soils (“gleby płowe”) was justified and recommended to reintroduce in soil classification in Poland, as well as 10 soil subtypes listed in a hierarchical order. The subtypes may be combined if the soil has diagnostic features of more than one soil subtypes. Clear rules of soil name generalization (reduction of subtype number for one soil) were suggested for soil cartography on various scales. One of the most important among the distinguished soil sub-types are the “eroded” or “truncated” clay-illuvial soils.
Taking into account the fact that (a) measurement of the cation exchange capacity and base saturation is practically unavailable in the field, that formally makes impossible the reliable field classification of many soils, (b) base saturation is measured or calculated by various methods those results significantly differ, (c) base saturation and soil pH are highly positively correlated, it is suggested to replace the base saturation with pHw (measured in distilled/deionized water suspension) in the classification criteria for diagnostic horizons and soil units/subunits, both in the Polish Soil Classification and FAO-WRB. Based on statistical analysis of 4500 soil samples, the following pHw values are recommended instead of 50% base saturation: pHw <5.5 for umbric and pHw ≥5.5 for the mollic horizon, and for Chernozems, Kastanozems, Phaeozems (directly) and Umbrisols (indirectly). Furthermore, the pHw <4.7 may feature the Dystric qualifier in mineral soils and respective Reference Soil Groups of WRB; while the pHw ≥4.7 may feature the Eutric qualifier. The distinction between subtypes of the brown soils in the Polish Soil Classification may base on the pHw 4.7 or 5.0, but using different requirements of pH distribution in the depth control section. The replacement of the base saturation with pH refers to the formal soil classification only, and does not exclude the use of base saturation for professional soil characteristics.
Large-scale river regulation, drainage and intense farming in the Barycz valley initiated in 17th century activated a transformation of the initial alluvial and swamp-alluvial soils. Soils on the Holocene flooded terraces have deep, acid humus horizons (umbric) and gleyic properties at shallow depth, but have no stratification of parent material to a depth of 100 cm. Despite the location in the floodplain, soils cannot be classified as black-earth alluvial soils (mady czarnoziemne) using the criteria of Polish soil classification (2011). The soils on the Pleistocene non-flooded terraces have a deep, base-saturated humus horizon (mollic) and gleyic properties in the lower part of soil profile, which allows to classify them as the black earths (czarne ziemie). Prominent stratification of the parent material well preserved in these soils has no influence on their classification (due to the age sediments). Almost all humus horizons of these soils meet the definition of anthric characteristics, and more than half of the studied soils can be classified as culturozemic soils - rigosols - which emphasises the important role of man in the transformation and gaining of morphological features of these soils. The lack of precise criteria for identifying soil types in the chernozemic order of the Polish soil classification (2011) causes difficulties in the classification of soils on the river terraces, in particular, in distinguishing between black-earth alluvial soils and black earths.
The recent editions of the Polish Soil Classification (PSC) have supplied the correlation table with the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB), which is the international soil classification most commonly used by Polish pedologists. However, the latest WRB edition () has introduced significant changes and many of the former correlations became outdated. The current paper presents the closest equivalents of the soil orders, types and subtypes of the recent edition of the PSC (2011) and WRB (). The proposals can be used for general correlation of soil units on maps and in databases, and may support Polish soil scientists to establish the most appropriate equivalents for soils under study, as well as make PSC more available for an international society.
The article presents proposed English translations of all names of soil units (orders, types and subtypes) listed by Polish Soils Classification, PSC (2011). The proposal has been elaborated based on the recent Polish and foreign literature, using uniform and consistent criteria. Due to the lack of soil names translation in the recent, fifth edition of PSC, the suggested English nomenclature was basically derived from the previous, fourth edition of PSC (1989). However, significant amendment and numerous additions to the latest version were proposed. A uniform and comprehensive system of soil taxa translations may help to avoid nomenclature chaos in the English papers of Polish authors, which intentionally base or refer to PSC.
This paper discusses new regulations on the assessment of soil contamination and the principle rules for remediation of contaminated sites included in the Environmental Protection Act, amended in 2014., as well as in related implementing legislation of 2016. In place of soil quality standards and the requirement to bring soil to the state that meets the standards, the new rules of contamination assessment and new remediation criteria have been introduced, based on environmental risk assessment. Similar rules are becoming increasingly common in many countries. This article provides general knowledge on the principles for the assessment of environmental risks associated with soil contamination, taking into account its two fundamental aspects: human health risk and environmental risk. On this background, the paper presents the principles of the assessment on soil contamination contained in the Regulation 1395 (2016) of the Minister of the Environment, as well as the rules for the choice of remediation method and design of remedial actions that should be basically aimed to eliminate the risk to human health and the environment.