Morphological diversity of chernozemic soils in south-western Poland

Abstract

Diverse chernozemic soils featured by thick mollic horizon, rich in humus, dark-coloured, structural, and saturated with base cations are relatively common in the loess-belt of SW Poland. It is postulated, that most of these soils may have similar initial (chernozemic) history of thick humus horizon, related to climate conditions and vegetation in the Late Pleistocene and the Neolithic periods. However, these soils exist on various bedrocks and under different moisture conditions that led to the development accompanying features and variable classification of soils, both in Polish and international soil classifications. The aim of the paper is to presents the most important variants of loess-derived chernozemic soils of SW Poland, in relation to local conditions, which influenced soil transformation and present spatial diversification. ‘Typical’ chernozems (WRB: Calcic Chernozems), which have a mollic horizon and secondary carbonates, but are free of strong redoximorphic features, are rather uncommon in the region. Whereas, the black earths (WRB: Gleyic/Stagnic Chernozems/Phaeozems), featured by the presence of mollic horizon and strong gleyic or stagnic properties in the middle and bottom parts of the profiles, are predominant loess-derived chernozemic soils in SW Poland. Their most specific forms, developed on the clayey bedrock, are black earths with a vertic horizon (WRB: Vertic Stagnic Phaeozems). The strongly leached chernozemic soils developed over permeable subsoils, lacking carbonates and free of (strongly developed) stagnic/gleyic properties are called grey soils, often featured by the presence of subsurface diagnostic horizons cambic or luvic (WRB: Cambic/Luvic Phaeozems).

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