Classification of mountain soils in a subalpine zone – a case study from the Bieszczady Mountains (SE Poland)

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to test the suitability of the 6th edition of Polish Soil Classification (SGP6) in reflecting the typical features of subalpine Bieszczady Mts. soils in comparison with the 5th edition of Polish Soil Classification (SGP5) and the newest version of World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB). Five soil profiles located in differentiated in terms of the parent material, topography and vegetation conditions of the natural environment were investigated. On the basis of described morphology and determined properties soils were classified according to different soil classifications. All soils under study were featured by presence of thick A horizons and high content of soil organic carbon accumulated even very deep in the profiles. Some of the mineral topsoil layers were classified as umbric/umbrik horizons. Moreover cambic/kambik horizons were present and in some cases also weak redoximorphic features occurred. The SGP6 enabled to distinguish soils with a thick, organic carbon-rich A horizons as umbrisols, a newly created subtype of grey soils. Furthermore, the soil taxonomic position according to SGP6 was more detailed in relation to the soil trophic status (in case of brown soils) and occurrence of weak redoximorphic features. That was reflected in number of subtypes to which analyzed soils were classified – 4 in SGP6 vs 2 in SGP5.

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