The agricultural value of rendzina soils depends on many factors, including type of parent rock, texture of arable layer, admixture of post-glacial materials and occurrence of coarse fragments. Over 97% of rendzinas in Poland are arable soils, and less than 3% are under permanent meadows and permanent pastures. Rendzinas are soil of high production potential for agriculture. Almost 75% of them were included in the wheat complexes (from 1 to 3) while about 10% are weak and very weak rye soils (complex 6 and 7) in Polish land suitability system. Groups of rendzinas identified for agricultural purposes and the principles of their identification were established on 1950s and 1960s when bonitation maps and soil-agricultural maps were prepared. These principles have not changed so far, therefore the purpose of the work was to describe the divisions of these soils and the characteristics of their properties on the example of arable soils based on the available data.
The purpose of the paper was the description of classification of chernozems applied in agriculture, the agricultural suitability of these soils, as well as processes contributing to their degradation. The study showed that the principles of chernozems classification into subtypes and varieties have not changed significantly since the introduction of the bonitation classification and legend of the soil-agricultural map. Lower-order units in chernozems type include typical and degraded chernozems considering deluvial varieties for both units. Chernozems are one of the most fertile soils in Poland, mostly classified from I to III bonitation classes and 1, 2 and 8 of the soil suitability complex. They constitute only 0.8% of the total area of the country, and their largest areas are located in : Opolskie, Świętokrzyskie and Lubelskie Voivodeships. Intensive agricultural use causes that chernozems are subject to progressive degradation mainly due to plaugh and water erosion as well as acidification of the crop layer.