Soil cover patterns in the forest-steppe and steppe zones of the East European Plain

Abstract

The soil cover of the forest-steppe and steppe zones of the East European Plain is characterized by diverse soil combinations revealed during large-scale and detailed soil mapping against the background of a traditional zonal sequence of dominant automorphic soils alternating from the north to the south and clearly displayed on small-scale soil maps. The composition, configuration and functioning of particular soil cover patterns are determined by the soil forming factors acting within a given area. The elementary soil areas (detailed scale) and elementary soil cover patterns maps (large scale) of the Central Russian, Kalach, and Volga Uplands are created by both traditional and digital soil mapping methods. Low-contrasting soil combinations with the background Haplic Chernozems (Loamic or Clayic, Pachic) alternating with zooturbated Haplic Chernozems (Loamic or Clayic, Pachic) on convex elements of the microtopography and Luvic Chernozems (Loamic or Clayic, Pachic) on concave elements of the microtopography prevails under conditions of thick clay loamy parent materials and free drainage. Under conditions of shallow embedding by low-permeable clayey sediments, the soil cover includes Chernozems or Chernic Phaeozems with stagnic features in some part of the soil profile or even Mollic Stagnosols. The presence of shrink-swell clays of different ages leads to the formation of Bathyvertic Chernozems, Vertic Chernozems, Vertic Chernic Phaeozems and/or Pellic Vertisols. The presence of soluble salts in the parent material leads to the development of solonetzic soil complexes consisting of Protosodic or Sodic Chernozems and different types of Solonetzes.

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