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The "Référentiel Pédologique": a sound reference base for soils - a tool for soil designation


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This paper presents the Référentiel Pédologique (RP) and underlines some particular features of this reference base for soils. A large room is devoted below to its basic concepts and underlying philosophy. Are also emphasized the numerous similarities between the RP and the World Reference Base for soil resources (WRB). That is not surprising because both systems were elaborated during the same period on the basis of converging conceptions. Moreover, the authors of the RP insisted to give a rather wide freedom to users, having confidence in their ability to analysis and synthesis. The pros and the cons of this freedom are discussed. The reader will notice also to what extent this flexible system is conceived on modern design and breaks with old habits in this domain of soil classification and designation.
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The "Référentiel Pédologique":
a sound reference base for soils -
a tool for soil designation
BAIZE Denis, KING Dominique and JAMAGNE Marcel
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - Science des Sols – Centre d'Orléans
BP 20619 – 45166 Olivet cedex – France,
This paper presents the Référentiel Pédologique (RP) and underlines some particular features of this
reference base for soils. A large room is devoted below to its basic concepts and underlying philosophy.
Are also emphasized the numerous similarities between the RP and the World Reference Base for soil
resources (WRB). That is not surprising because both systems were elaborated during the same period on
the basis of converging conceptions. Moreover, the authors of the RP insisted to give a rather wide freedom
to users, having confidence in their ability to analysis and synthesis. The pros and the cons of this freedom
are discussed. The reader will notice also to what extent this flexible system is conceived on modern design
and breaks with old habits in this domain of soil classification and designation.
Keywords: soil designation, soil typology, reference base, soil mantles, qualifiers.
The Référentiel Pédologique (abbreviated as RP) is the fruit of a collective effort. More than a hundred
scientists from various countries gave contributions to this work, from 1979 to 1995. Thanks also to the
fruitful boost given by J. Boulaine, A. Ruellan, Cl. Cheverry, M.C. Girard and many others. The RP has
not been conceived as a rupture with the former French system of soil classification (CPCS, 1967). It is
only the result of a long evolution according to the same morpho-genetical conceptions. Of course, new
ideas and the experience gained since 1967 by soil mapping and world-wide research were taken into
A first international presentation was made at Almaty in 1988 (Ruellan, 1990) and then at the Congress in
Kyoto (Baize et al., 1990). A first incomplete version subtitled "main soils of Europe" was published in
1992 (AFES, 1992). In 1993 the RP was presented in Salamanca to a Spanish-speaking audience
(Rossignol et al., 1993). Two years later a new version was issued, with eleven new chapters (AFES, 1995).
During this rather long elaboration, the authors tried to draw closer first to the revised Legend FAO-
UNESCO (1988) and, later, to the World Reference Base for soil resources (WRB – ISSS, 1998) which
was then in the course of being elaborated.
The RP, like any other scientific language system, has not been built to be used by uninformed people such
as farmers, decision-makers, or politicians but only by the community of soil science specialists (500
persons as a maximum in France). As well as the scientific vocabulary of Genetics or Medicine, RP is not a
tool for the general public. It is our task to decode and explain it in simple terms, as a second step, in order
to transmit the more useful information to the users.
"Référentiel Pédologique". Baize et al. 85
Philosophy and basic concepts
One amongst major problems that soil scientists have encountered from the very beginning is the confusion
between words and concepts of Biology and those of Pedology (Figure 1) (Pollok, 1990). The RP agrees
with authors supporting the idea that the "soil individual" does not exist (FitzPatrick, 1971 & 1983;
Ruellan, 1985; Holmgren, 1986; Baize, 1992). That fact complicate highly the task of the typologist as well
as that of the soil surveyor.
Figure 1.
Living organisms Soil mantles
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Genes, DNA, Genotype No equivalent !
Characteristics Characteristics
Phenotype Morphology *
Individual No equivalent !
Parents Mother-rock *, Parent material *
Species Type *
Reproduction No equivalent !
Heredity, Genetics Heritage *
Phylogeny, Evolution Pedogenesis * , Evolution *
Phylum, Lineage Phylum *
Most of the concepts of biology have no equivalent in the domain of
soil mantles ! Some have only approximate equivalents (*).
Another quite important thing is the distinction of reality from the images we give of it (schematization by
cutting up the soil mantles into distinct horizons; analytical data obtained on samples; examination of thin
sections) and from the concepts we draw off by generalization of repeated observations. In our opinion, a
"chernozem" or an E horizon are pure concepts.
A third main point is the crucial distinction between two domains: space (and its application: soil mapping)
and typology (soil classification, soil taxonomies, soil typologies - King, 1984; Baize 1992; Baize & King,
1992). This important difference has been taken into account in the European Soil Database by distinction
between "soil typological units" and "soil mapping units" (Jamagne et al., 1994; EC – INRA, 1996).
In comparison with previous "classical" systems of classification, two major innovations have been
introduced in RP: (i) the system is not a hierarchic classification, but a soil reference base; (ii) the objects
of study are soil mantles which may be subdivided into horizons according to vertical or lateral sequences.
Soil mantles are actual natural bodies. They are three-dimensional varying continua. The horizons are the
most appropriate basic bodies for describing and sampling soil mantles. In addition to their properties
(constituents, organisation, analytical characteristics), we must also take into consideration their key
relations with other horizons: i.e. pedogenetic (long-term evolution) and functional relations (short-term
changes). A good example is given by the eluvial / illuvial pair of horizons.
"Référentiel Pédologique". Baize et al.
The solum is the vertical section of a soil mantle, that can be observed within a pit or a trench. Once
studied and interpreted, a solum may be described schematically in the form of superimposed reference
horizons in a defined order: this corresponds to the conceptual solum.
"Reference Horizons" constitute the basis of the system (Baize, 1993). Some seventy of them are proposed
(e.g. H, O, A, E, S, BT, BP, FS, V, G, K, Y, etc.) and defined by their morphological features, by some
analytical data easy to obtain and by their pedogenetic significance. Generally, one single horizon cannot
be considered as being "diagnostic" alone for classification.
The attribution is the process of linkage between an observed reality or a processed information and the
domain of concepts:
* of the horizons observed and sampled in the field Æ and such or such Reference horizon;
* of a solum or a typological unit Æ and one or several References.
The attribution can be simple, imperfect or multiple:
(i.) simple, if there is good agreement between observations and the definition of one Reference;
(ii.) imperfect, if a few features do not agree exactly with those required by the nearer Reference;
(iii.) multiple, if, to keep information as rich as possible, it seems useful to point out relations
between the object studied and several References (e.g. LUVISOLS-RÉDOXISOLS). Multiple
attribution is a good mean to avoid "taxonomic chops" (Butler, 1980; Mazaheri & McBratney,
Not too much an hierarchical system
The RP has been elaborated in such a way to avoid building a dichotomic unnecessarily hierarchized
system. In such a system, a strict application of a rigid key leads often to difficulties and errors: the one
who makes a mistake at any branching is irretrievably sent in a wrong way.
Thus the Référentiel Pédologique is not a traditional hierarchical classification system. Its authors have
aimed to establish a typological framework which is scientific yet pragmatic, precise yet flexible, and
which contains only two levels : "References" and "Types".
Usually, the "References" are defined by their specific sequence of reference horizons. But some of them
are otherwise defined, for example by their position in the landscape and the nature of their parent material
This typological framework takes into consideration, as far as possible
(i.) the morphology of the solum
(ii.) its behaviour and properties and
(iii.) pedogenetic processes (provided they are clearly understood).
At world-wide scale, the References may be sufficient for the exchange of information or to convey the
major geographic distribution of soil qualities. At national, regional or local level however, more details are
needed to complete the information and make it easy to use. Hence the use of one or several "Qualifiers" in
order to define "Types", for example a fluvic, vertic, clayey CALCOSOL.
The Major Groups of References (MGR) have been built mainly to avoid unnecessary repetition in the
presentation of References. They group several References, which have many common characteristics,
having, for example, the same Reference horizons. From an editorial point of view, it has been necessary to
present these common properties and horizons in a single chapter.
Another more didactic advantage of MGRs is to regroup various References with the central concepts
traditionally recognised as being associated. For example seven References characterised by a
podzolization process are gathered in the MGR of PODZOSOLS. In the RP, several MGRs are offered, but
groups could be assembled in other ways by teachers or map-makers.
Originally, we were thinking of naming MGRs as "large sets with fuzzy limits" ("grands ensembles à
limites floues"), but we did not dare to go so far.
"Référentiel Pédologique". Baize et al. 87
The use of Qualifiers
The Qualifiers are added freely combined to the name of a Reference to provide more information on:
Nature of the parent material or the substrate;
Nature of the humiferous episolum;
Presence of a supplementary Reference horizon;
Nature and the quantity of excess water.
Topographical position of the solum;
Texture, pH, saturation ratio, amount of a given element, etc.
A first list of 235 Qualifiers has been established in the RP 1995. Such a list is open-ended, and the number
of combinations is unlimited, so the number of Types is, by its very nature, without limit. The Qualifiers
are always written in low case letters.
It is necessary to add as many Qualifiers as possible to specify the main properties of a solum. As
* pedomorphic, albic, dystric PLANOSOL TYPIQUE, with a moder, (developed) from an Albian
glauconitic sandy clay
* colluvial, pachic, silty BRUNISOL MÉSOSATURÉ, with a mull, (developed) from a gneiss
* drained, resaturated LUVISOL DÉGRADÉ, with a fragipan, (developed) from an old loess.
Figure 2 presents the use of the RP in the case of the Forest Site Typology of the "Plateau Nivernais"
(Baize & Jabiol, 1993). These are the designations for five soil types, corresponding to five site types,
developed in the same parent material (clay with cherts), all of them being attributable to the same
Reference. At this local level, every site type or sub-type can be designated by a specific sentence differing
from others by at least one Qualifier.
Figure 2.
The use of the RP in the case of the Forest Site Typology
of the "Plateau Nivernais" (France)
P4g redoxic, oligosatured LUVISOL TYPIQUE, sandy-loamy at its surface, with an acid oligomull,
location on a plateau
P4m oligosaturated LUVISOL TYPIQUE, sandy-loamy at its surface, with an acid oligomull, location on a
P6m desaturated LUVISOL TYPIQUE, loamy at its surface, with an eumoder, location on a plateau
P8x very stony, desaturated LUVISOL TYPIQUE, loamy at its surface, with a dysmoder, location on the
edge of a plateau
V6x oligosaturated, LUVISOL TYPIQUE, loamy and stony at its surface, with an eumoder, upslope
In order to transmit information shortly, the RP is thus well suited to the needs of foresters. Using different
Qualifiers, they can describe as well the intrinsic properties of soils as the elements of their dynamics and
natural environment.
Typology of forest humus forms
Within the RP, a large appendix is devoted to a new system of forest humus forms typology and
designation (Jabiol et al., 1994; Brêthes et al., 1995). It proposes a 2-way classification grid and a
nomenclature, especially for forest humus forms of Western Europe but which could include mountain,
Mediterranean and tropical forms as well. This system takes into account the present knowledge of
biological mechanisms that take place in plant litter decomposition, transformation of soil organic matter,
linkage of the latter to mineral particles and building of the structure in the A horizons.
"Référentiel Pédologique". Baize et al.
The first step of this typology results in three broad types with radically different behaviours,
corresponding to the classic groups of mull, moder, mor, in the case of well-aerated episola. As a second
step, the humus form is distinguished more specifically using the detailed morphology and thickness of the
holorganic horizons. This stage gives us a more precise nomenclature of the humus form. For instance:
eumull, oligomull, hemimoder, eumoder, etc. A third step defines the physico-chemical characteristics, or
particular behaviour, using additional Qualifiers. For example: humic calcareous eumull, andic mesomull,
Similarities between the RP and the WRB
A lot of similarities between the two systems can be revealed and these are not the fruit of chance but the
result of converging conceptions.
The RP is defined as a soil reference base; so is the WRB. Their principles and aims are rather
similar: "The WRB is designed as an easy means of communication amongst scientists to identify,
characterise and name major types of soil. It serves as a basic language in soil science" (ISSS
Working group RB, 1998).
In the same way than the WRB, the RP does not take into account extra-pedological data such as
the general climate or the vegetation (actual or potential). It only takes into consideration soil
morphology, data and properties. We are free, later on, to combine these different layers of
In the "Introduction" of the WRB the Reference Soil Groups are presented according to the same
outline and headings as it is done in the RP.
The two systems give definitions of a great number of "Qualifiers" and use them in a rather similar
way. They propose the same word, the same concept and the same process of use.
Numerous Reference Soil Groups (WRB) and Major Groups of References (RP) are called by
very similar or identical terms, corresponding to close conceptions (at the highest level). In fact,
we tried, as much as possible, to draw nearer to universally recognized conceptions and decided to
use the internationally accepted words, such as REGOSOLS, VERTISOLS, HISTOSOLS, CRYOSOLS,
LUVISOLS, ARENOSOLS, PLANOSOLS… Such a convergence does not lead to confusion. Either
LUVISOLS DÉGRADÉ cannot be confused with "albic LUVISOL" nor FLUVIOSOL BRUNIFIÉ with eutric
FLUVISOL. At the same time, we dropped traditional terms like "rendzines" or "rankers", in favour
of RENDOSOLS and RANKOSOLS, in order to avoid ambiguousness with other earlier classification
Some chapters are almost identical (ANDOSOLS RP / ANDOSOLS WRB). They have the same main
However, it remains obvious that both systems are widely different, notably for historical reasons: the
WRB is still closely inspired by the Legend of the Soil Map of the World (FAO-UNESCO, 1988) whereas
the RP remains imbued with ideas of the French school of pedology. In addition, WRB carries out a
mission of a world-wide and supranational system, a "basis for better correlation between national
systems". So, a search for correspondence is to be made between the RP and the WRB in the near future, at
least at the higher level.
What is RP made for? – Why so much freedom?
The RP offers a clear and well-defined language. It is not only a means of organising our knowledge but
above all an efficient tool for transferring information in as much detail as possible, enabling correlation to
be established between diverse areas or countries.
The RP is a flexible system, a tool for soil designation. A great freedom is left to the pedologist in
interpreting his collected data, in carrying out the "attribution" and in handling "Qualifiers". It has to be
reminded that the attribution of a solum or a typological unit can be simple, imperfect or multiple.
Nobody must be afraid by this wide freedom left to the user! This system is a language, a tool for soil
designation, not a shackle! This wide freedom in choosing the characters thought as being the most
important and the priority given to the discernment and experience of the soil scientist are a double-edged
power. On the one hand, indeed, it gives primacy to the understanding of the solum and of its natural and
human context and so allows us to avoid big mistakes. On the other hand, it could be as well taxed with an
excess of subjectivity!
"Référentiel Pédologique". Baize et al. 89
We shall take as an example the designation of the pit no. 4 (Pákozd, arboretum) studied during the field
trip in Velence (International Symposium on Soil Classification - 11th October 2001 – Field guide for the
mid-conference tour – Figure 3).
Figure 3.
Short description and analytical data of the pit no. 4 at Pákozd
Topography : flat Land use : park (pasture)
Landform : basin Parent material : alluvial/lacustrine sediment
0-20cm: A1 – very dark greyish brown (10 YR 3/2); loose with many roots; fine
subangular blocky structure; diffuse boundary.
20-40cm: A2 – very dark greyish brown (10 YR 3/2); medium angular blocky
structure; slightly hard, compacted; gradual boundary.
40-70cm : 2Bth – very dark grey (10 YR 3/1); weak columnar primary, medium
blocky secondary structure; humus coatings on peds; slighty hard; gradual
70-100cm: 2Btk – grey (7.5 YR 5/1); hard; moderately cemented; weak fine
subangular blocky structure; few coarse fractions; clear abrupt boundary.
100-120cm: 3Cggrey (7.5 YR 6/1); structureless; common coarse fractions; abrupt
120cm+ : 4Cg – 5 YR 5/1; with common reddish yellow mottles; hard, cemented;
common partially weathered rock fragments.
Org. C CaCO3 CEC Sand Clay bulk dens. Hori-
H2O % % cmol/kg % % g/cm3
Na+ %
A1 7.7 2.60 8 32.6 9.5 33.0 1.11 0.31
A2 7.8 2.00 8 32.5 10.3 34.7 1.30 0.58
2Bth 8.0 1.93 14 39.1 17.2 50.1 1.35 0.84
2Btk 8.3 0.86 30 27.1 23.7 58.4 1.29 1.38
3Cg 8.5 0.49 34 25.6 36.3 43.6 - 1.16
4Cg 8.7 0.12 9 9.5 79.8 7.9 - 1.88
All the specialists present there immediately noticed the multilayer character of the solum (four different
alluvial materials superimposed) but they did not take that fact sufficiently into account for classification
and designation. They searched for one or more "diagnostic horizon(s)", found two of them (a mollic
epipedon and a calcic horizon) and strictly followed the key. That led them automatically to Mollisols (Soil
Taxonomy) or to Chernozems (WRB).
The reader will find below a possible designation of this solum according to the RP, exercising our
freedom for general judgment and for criteria hierarchization. We recommend to take into account all the
soil horizons (the whole solum) for establishing a functional as well as pedogenetic assessment.
One major character: the alluvial/lacustrine and multilayer character of the parent material, hence, the
attribution to FLUVIOSOLS TYPIQUES. In the RP, FLUVIOSOLS are sola developed in river alluvium or
lacustrine deposits, in a low position in the landscape and more or less affected by a permanent water-table
with marked fluctuations. In the parti-cular case of FLUVIOSOLS, the word "typique" only means neither
"brut" nor "brunifié").
Four other features considered as being less important :
"mollic" nature of the uppermost horizons Qualifier "sombric"
CaCO3 leaching and accumulation at depth Qualifier "calcaric"
fine texture Qualifier "fine-textured"
"Référentiel Pédologique". Baize et al.
gleyic features at depth Qualifier "redoxic at depth"
French FLUVIOSOL TYPIQUE sombrique, calcarique, à texture fine, rédoxique en profondeur.
English sombric, calcaric, fine-textured FLUVIOSOL TYPIQUE, redoxic at depth.
Europe-wide diffusion
In France, the RP should be used by every pedologist by now. It has been recognised as the only official
soil typology by the concerned authorities in the framework of the major national programmes for
inventory and monitoring of soils (Inventaire, Gestion et Conservation des Sols – Ministère de l'Agriculture
et de la Forêt; national standard AFNOR NF X 31-003 - Description du sol – 1998). After some ten years
of use, time will come soon to take stock of its imperfections and to correct them.
The RP was first translated into English (with the help of Dr. J.M. Hodgson) and published by our care in
1998. Two years later, an Italian translation was made by Franco Previtali and Patrizia Scandella, published
by Edagricole, Bologna. Recently, thanks to Irina Kovda and Maria Gerasimova for the translation, a
Russian version was published by Oikoumena, Smolensk.
Within the RP, the typology of forest humus forms under temperate climates is among the most appreciated
and used in European countries (Gobat et al., 1998; Badia Villas & Marti Dalmau, 1999; Zanella et al.,
What is still to be done?
Although French school of pedology was among those who know very well the soils of the inter-tropical
regions (e.g. Ferralsols, Acrisols) the French specialists of these soils did not feel enough motivated to
collaborate to the construction of the RP. As a result, it contains no chapters devoted to these soils. That is
somewhat paradoxical and surprising. There is a gap to be filled! We have still a lot to do!
Nevertheless, the version 1995 is not exhaustive and definitive yet. Further chapters are still to be
elaborated in the next few years. A great amount of work remains to be carried out on soils from arid and
inter-tropical regions. In order to supplement the RP successfully, we need the help of pedologists who
have studied soils under these climates. That is the reason why we are calling on all our colleagues, from
all countries, to join us and help us in defining and naming the soils of these areas, according to the basic
principles, which have been now well-established.
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Éditions, Paris. 222 pp.
AFES, 1995 – Référentiel Pédologique 1995. – D. Baize et M.C. Girard coord. INRA Éditions, Paris.
AFES, 1998 - A sound reference base for soils : the Référentiel Pédologique. Text in English. Translation
by J.M. Hodgson, N.R. Eskenazi & D. Baize. INRA Éditions, Paris. 322 pp.
AFES, 2000 - Il sistema francese di referenziazione dei suoli. Référentiel Pédologique. Translation by F.
Previtali & P. Scandella. Calderini Edagricole, Bologna, 354 pp.
AFES, 2000 - Le Référentiel Pédologique. Translation into Russian by I. Kovda & M. Gerasimova.
Oecoumena, Smolensk. 286 pp.
Badia Villas D. & Marti Dalmau C., 1999. Suelos del Pirineo central : Fragen. Proyecto Ecomont.
Universidad de Zaragoza. 190 pp.
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Baize D. & King D., 1992 – La modélisation spatiale des couvertures pédologiques. Carte papier et SIG
Sémin. INRA Systèmes Information Géographique. Florac (France). 17-27.
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Brêthes A., Brun J.J., Jabiol B., Ponge J.F. & Toutain F., 1995 - Classification of forest humus forms : a
French proposal. Ann. Sci. Forestières, 52, 535-546.
Butler B.E., 1980 - Soil Classification for Soil Survey. Oxford University Press. 129 pp.
C.P.C.S. (Commission de Pédologie et de Cartographie des Sols), 1967 - Classification des sols. Orléans.
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EC – INRA, 1996 – Soil database to support sustainable development. (Ed.: Le Bas C. and Jamagne M.).
EUR 16371 – JRC publication. Ispra. 149 pp.
FAO-UNESCO, 1988 – Soil map of the world. Revised legend. Rome. 119 pp.
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di Ecologia Alpina, Trento (Italia). 321 pp.
"Référentiel Pédologique". Baize et al.
... Our results show that the interactive effect of cropping systems and slope significantly affects soil water pH and soil KCl pH, and an increase in these two types of acidity is induced by the Palm grove-Cassava maize cropping system on a high slope. According to the interpretation grid proposed by [25], the soil of the Kpacomey watershed is weakly acidic under the pure Palm grove-Cassava, Palm grove-Maize-Cassava and Teak plantation cropping systems. Soil acidity is an indication of the equivalent chemical elements at soil level in general and is directly related to exchangeable cations and anions [19]. ...
... The first soil maps were established in the early stages of the research sites (Lamandé, 2003;Walter, 1993) (Fig. 2) to provide an extensive description of the spatial organization of soils and connect them to their hydrological and geochemical functioning (Walter and Curmi, 1998). High-resolution soil maps (1:10,000 and 1:25,000) have been established on the basis of four criteria: soil parent material, soil depth, soil redoximorphic conditions, and soil types as defined in the French soil classification (Baize et al., 2002). ...
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Core Ideas AgrHyS is a long‐term observatory of the agroecosystem. AgrHyS supports strongly interdisciplinary environmental research. AgrHyS offers an original experimental setup to explore the soil–groundwater–water–plants–atmosphere continuum. AgrHyS supports original and innovative techniques for environmental monitoring. The AgrHyS is a long‐term agro‐hydrological observatory dedicated to studying the processes controlling hydro‐chemical fluxes in headwater catchments in response to the effects of agricultural. AgrHyS is composed of instrumented catchments located in western France in a temperate oceanic climate that are characterized by shallow groundwater (<8 m deep) over crystalline bedrocks (granite or schist) and is dominated by intensive agriculture with farming. AgrHyS provides long‐term observations starting in 1990 and supports highly interdisciplinary studies that provide novel contributions to environmental sciences, including hydrology, geochemistry, agricultural and soil sciences, hydrogeology, bioclimatology, and ecology. Here we describe the observatory sites, observation strategy, data management policy, and data access. The objective is to show how AgrHyS has contributed to research in hydrological and environmental sciences through a review of major insights of the research. This analysis highlights the role of AgrHyS in linking, validating, and enriching successive and complementary projects conducted over the last 25 yr. The second objective is to invite new collaborations with a large scientific community for future research.
... Given that the clay content in the Btg horizon was 1.8 times higher than that in the Eg horizon, the Btg horizon of the P-3 profi le is considered as argic horizon sensu IUSS Working Group WRB (2014). Th is is in line with Pseudogleys mainly forming by progressive lessivage (see Baize, 1998;Rubinić et al., 2014;;2015a;2015b;Škorić, 1986;and Zaidel`man, 2007). ...
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Factors of soil formation govern soil processes and determine soil properties. The aim of this study was to asses the influence of geomorphology (soil parent material, soil age, soil landscape position) and land use (vegetation) on soil properties in the southeastern part of the Maksimir district in Zagreb, Croatia. Representative profiles of Eutric Cambisol, Humofl uvisol, and Pseudogley soils (soil profiles P-1, P-2, and P-3, respectively) were studied on different parent materials (older Holocene sediments, younger fluvial sediments, and loess derivates, respectively), landscape positions (lowland, lowland next to the stream, and plateau, respectively), and land uses (abandoned plough land, urban park, and forest, respectively). Geomorphology influenced soil morphological properties (horizonation, structure and consistence, redoximorphic features), soil particle size distribution (including the coarse/fine sand ratio and the vertical trends of the silt/clay ratio), and soil chemical properties (pH and ΔpH, CaCO3 content). Land use (vegetation) primarily influenced the topsoils of the investigated profiles (soil structure, abundance of roots, humus content, and soil pH), but also the presence of artefacts in the profile P-1 and the properties of redoximorphic features in the profi le P-3. Soil profi les P-1, P-2, and P-3 were classified according to the WRB-2014 system as Eutric Relictigleyic Cambisol (Geoabruptic, Loamic), Calcaric Endogleyic Fluvisol (Loamic), and Dystric Retic Stagnosol (Loamic), respectively. We conclude that both geomorphology and land use had crucial impacts on soil formation in the southeastern Maksimir. Moreover, the recent regulations of the local streams significantly influenced properties of the profiles P-1 and P-2.
... While soil designation is rather flexible, it is not exactly the same as soil classification. The major features of the RP are presented in Baize (1993) and Baize et al. (2002). In order to define the "Great Groups of References" with its References, the RP takes into consideration diverse topics, such as morphological, mineralogical and chemical features, soil functioning and the soil forming processes, that can be expressed at the highest taxonomic level. ...
As soils are facing considerable changes in climate, land use, land consumption, and degradation, it is vital to understand the characteristics of soils and their distribution, especially for soil management issues. In mountainous regions like the Alps, soils require specific attention as they provide a large variety of ecological functions, but also because of their vulnerability. However, pedological research and the collection of soil data in the Alps are still limited. On the one hand, there are specific methodological problems linked to the surveying, interpretation, and classification of Alpine soils due to their high variability over short spatial ranges and the peculiarities of the Alpine environment in general. On the other hand, the process of collecting soil data and mapping soils, as well as the soil classification systems used, significantly differs among the Alpine countries. The Alpine Convention therefore requires data harmonization as a basis for national and cross-country collaborations, soil monitoring, and sustainable management.
... ly averaged rainfall (mm year À1 ), yearly averaged atmospheric deposition (mEq m À2 year À1 ) and soil type are informed. Both rainfall and deposition were measured on the 1993–2008 period. Total deposition was calculated for each element (see Section 2.2.2) on the basis of the measurements from the RENECOFOR database (Ulrich et al., 1998). EPC87.Baize et al., 2002) Luvisolredoxisol Alocrisol [ ( F i g . _ 1 ) T D $ F I G ]Table 2 Main soil characteristics per soil layer (Brêthes and Ulrich, 1997) for the two RENECOFOR forest sites (ICP Forests) CHS41 and EPC87, that were respectively characterized by four and five soil layers. Data were measured or calculated from measured data. If no data were a ...
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Atmospheric N deposition is known to severely impact forest ecosystem functioning by influencing soil biogeochemistry and nutrient balance, and consequently tree growth and overall forest health and biodiversity. Moreover, because climate greatly influences soil processes, climate change and atmospheric N deposition must both be taken into account when analysing the evolution of forest ecosystem status over time. Dynamic biogeochemical models have been developed to test different climate and atmospheric N deposition scenarios and their potential interactions in the long term. In this study, the ForSAFE model was used to predict the combined effect of atmospheric N deposition and climate change on two temperate forest ecosystems in France dominated by oak and spruce, and more precisely on forest soil biogeochemistry, from today to 2100. After a calibration step and following a careful statistical validation process, two atmospheric N deposition scenarios were tested: the current legislation in Europe (CLE) and the maximum feasible reduction (MFR) scenarios. They were combined with three climate scenarios: current climate scenario, worst-case climate scenario (A2) and best-case climate scenario (B1). The changes in base saturation and inorganic N concentration in the soil solution were compared across all scenario combinations, with the aim of forecasting the state of acidification, eutrophication and forest ecosystem recovery up to the year 2100. Simulations highlighted that climate had a stronger impact on soil base saturation, whereas atmospheric deposition had a comparative effect or a higher effect than climate on N concentration in the soil solution. Although deposition remains the main factor determining the evolution of N concentration in soil solution, increased temperature had a significant effect. Results also highlighted the necessity of considering the joint effect of both climate and atmospheric N deposition on soil biogeochemistry.
... Both rainfall and deposition were measured on the 1993-2008 period. Total deposition was calculated for each element (see Section 2.2.2) on the basis of the measurements from the RENECOFOR database (Ulrich et al., 1998 (Baize et al., 2002) Luvisolredoxisol Alocrisol year À1 ) deposition under a Norway spruce stand (EPC87, ICP Forests, France), according to two deposition scenarios: CLE = current legislation in Europe, MFR = maximum feasible reduction. ...
... In spring when snow melts, soils are water-saturated. The type of soil considered in the present study is a humiferous Brunisol on karst, according to the official French classification (Baize, 1998), that corresponds to an Eutric Cambisol in the FAO classification (FAO, 1989). The upper layers are calcareous free or partly decalcified because of the heavy precipitation and the fissured rocks (intense water leaching). ...
Among different dead wood types, large snags have a particular ecological relevance for biodiversity in forest ecosystems. For both research and management purposes, rapid and cost-effective inventories of large snags are required. Due to the great variability within stands and across the landscape, field recording of large snags is labour-intensive and expensive, if adequate sample sizes have to be ensured. We present a new method enabling efficient mapping and quantification of large snags by coupling colour infrared aerial photographs and a geographic information system (GIS). The method is validated by comparing the results with the data assessed by field methods in four spruce-dominated mountain forests in Switzerland. The different steps for implementing the method are: (1) stereoscopic interpretation of aerial photos for snag detection; (2) scanning and production of orthophotos; (3) geo-referencing and integration of the orthophotos and other data layers into a GIS; (4) digitisation of detected snags and drawing up of snag distribution maps. With the developed method, a map of the spatial distribution of spruce snags with a dbh ≥25 cm can be obtained in about 16 h for an area of 3 km2 (i.e. 3 min/ha of map). Tree diameter, treetop condition (broken or intact) and the canopy closure of the forest stands significantly affected the success of snag detection. The method detected 82% (93%) of snags ≥25 cm (≥35 cm) with an intact treetop, and 67% (71%) when broken snags ≥25 cm (≥35 cm) were also included. Given our encouraging results, the method should be further tested on similar study sites in order to obtain more certainty regarding validity of the coefficient correcting underestimation. The method may become a promising tool, complementing standard field methods, with various prospective applications, such as wildlife studies, forest inventories, certification processes, etc.
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Soil classification is a long-debated issue. Despite the accumulation of empirical data and appearance of modern computer technologies, soil classification problems remain unresolved and relevant for discussion. The main problem is the creation of a universal soil classification system. The causes of soil classification problems are analyzed and a solution based on contemporary theories of classification and the general systems theory (open system) approach is presented. I discuss the purposes and the current state of soil classification, as well as unresolved issues such as: what definition of soils should be the basis for a universal soil classification system, should soil classification systems be genetic or morphological, how to make them evolutionary, and others. The common features of officially recognized national and international soil classification systems and some underdeveloped ones are reviewed, as well as those in which they differ from each other. It is shown that the shortcomings of soil classification systems are largely related to neglecting the essential character of soils, namely, its dual systemic nature to be not only an independent natural body (that is, a system), but also the result of interaction and interrelation of soil-forming factors (that is, an element of the system), ignoring the rules for logical division of concepts and replacing the differentiating criteria with diagnostic criteria. The theoretical basis and advantages of the “soil-landscape classification system” being developed by the author are outlined. To solve soil classification problems, an outside perspective is needed, that is, the use of classiology and the systems approach.
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In 1986 the “Association Française pour l'Etude du Sol (A.F.E.S.)” started a project to replace the former soil classification introduced in 1967 by the “Commission de Pédologie et de Cartographie des Sols (C.P.C.S.)”.The new system owes much to advances made in the past twenty years and is the collective work of more than sixty scientists with additional material derived from various other sources. It conforms to the usually accepted morphogenetic approach, nevertheless two major innovations have been introduced:(i)the real objects under investigation are “Soil Mantles”;(ii)the system is not hierarchical but typological.The “Référentiel Pédologique” (abbreviated as R.P.) is yet to be fully developed and a fourth version will be published in 1992. Nevertheless, his general principles are well defined and are explained below.The R.P. is based on four basic notions: “Soil Mantles”, “Solums”, “Reference Horizons” and “References” (fig. 1).
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A 2-way classification grid and a nomenclature are proposed for French forest humus forms but which could include mountain, Mediterranean and tropical forms as well. This proposal takes into account our present knowledge of biological mechanisms that take place in plant litter decomposition, transformation of soil organic matter, linkage of the latter to mineral particles and building of the structure in the A horizon. Basically, by adjoining free qualifiers, humus forms may be defined by accounting also for their chemical and physical particularities.
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La typologie des formes d'humus proposée par le Référentiel pédologique 1992 constitue un outil polyvalent, à la fois support évolutif pour l'acquisition de nouvelles connaissances scientifiques, mais surtout outil utile et utilisable pour les praticiens (forestiers, écologues, agronomes ... ).
Fitzpatrick first published a text book on soils in 1971, and it has been completely rewritten for this new edition. The problem of the many classifications of soils used in the world has led the author to use three sets of terminlogy simultaneously, although the first 4 chapters are presented without the need to resort to such jargon. As far as classification is concerned the large number of systems are described while chapter 6 dicusses the soil classes of the world in alphabetical order using the FAO nomenclature - this consists of about one third of the book. -Keith Clayton