Occurrence and erosion susceptibility of German Pelosols and international equivalents

Scheper, Simon and Meusburger, Katrin and Borrelli, Pasquale and Panagos, Panos and Alewell, Christine. (2022) Occurrence and erosion susceptibility of German Pelosols and international equivalents. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science (185). pp. 821-835.

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Background Pelosols are the Soil of the Year 2022 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They represent soils with a high clay content (>= 45%) in the diagnostic P horizon. Pelosols are nutrient-rich, have a strong capacity for swelling and shrinking, have a challenging water balance with a high portion of nonplant available water and are affected by high traction. Such special characteristics make them challenging soils under agricultural management. Aims The occurrence, land use management and soil erosion risk of Pelosols in Germany were investigated and compared to their clay-rich soil counterparts on a global scale. Methods We intersected soil maps of the German and international digital soil mapping with soil erosion data. Results A high percentage (63%) of Pelosols in Germany are under agricultural use, from which two-thirds are arable farming. Simultaneously, Pelosols have a high risk for soil erosion by water and are the fourth most endangered soil type compared to all soil types in Germany. The average soil erosion loss of Pelosols used for agricultural practices assessed by the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) is 2.24 t ha(-1) y(-1) compared to an average erosion loss of all agriculturally used soils in Germany of 1.65 t ha(-1) y(-1). From an international perspective, Pelosols in Germany are mostly mapped as haplic Cambisols or haplic Luvisols, as they do not necessarily meet the diagnostic properties of the clay-rich Vertisol soil type. Most Vertisols are classified as Pelosols, but Pelosols do not necessarily fulfil the diagnostic criteria of Vertisols. Vertisols on a global scale have an even higher soil erosion risk than Pelosols in Germany (3.5 t ha(-1) y(-1)). Conclusions Pelosols and Vertisols, despite their high percentages for agricultural use, have a high soil erosion risk compared to other soil types and thus need special care under agricultural use and adapted protective land use management.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Alewell, Christine and Scheper, Simon
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Feb 2023 14:38
Deposited On:21 Feb 2023 14:38

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