Licchavi Lyceum


Licchavi Lyceum

Classify soils based on their zonal distribution and describe the characteristics of pedocals.

Soils are classified based on their zonal distribution, which means categorizing them according to the major climatic and environmental factors that influence their formation. The classification of soils based on zonal distribution includes the following main soil orders:

  1. Spodosols: These soils are associated with cold and humid climates, typically found in boreal or coniferous forest regions. Spodosols are characterized by a distinctive subsurface horizon called the “spodic horizon,” which contains accumulated organic matter, iron, and aluminum oxides. They are often acidic and may have poor nutrient-holding capacity.
  2. Gelisols: Gelisols are soils found in cold environments with permafrost. They are commonly found in polar regions and high mountain areas. Gelisols have a layer of frozen soil (permafrost) that remains frozen for a significant portion of the year. These soils often have poor drainage and limited vegetation.
  3. Histosols: Histosols are organic soils characterized by a high percentage of organic matter (peat and muck). They typically form in waterlogged, swampy environments with poor decomposition of plant materials due to anaerobic conditions. Histosols are commonly found in wetlands and peatlands.
  4. Andisols: Andisols are soils associated with volcanic regions. They form from volcanic ash and tephra deposits. Andisols are known for their high fertility, with a high content of minerals like aluminum and iron. They are often found in areas with recent volcanic activity.
  5. Aridisols: Aridisols are soils found in arid and semi-arid regions, characterized by limited precipitation. They have low organic matter content and may accumulate salts (salinization) due to high evaporation rates. Aridisols are often found in deserts and steppe regions.
  6. Mollisols: Mollisols are fertile soils associated with temperate grasslands, including the world’s major grain-producing regions. They are characterized by a deep, dark, and organic-rich surface horizon called the “mollic epipedon.” Mollisols are highly productive for agriculture.
  7. Alfisols: Alfisols are soils found in temperate regions with a deciduous forest cover. They have a subsurface horizon called the “argillic horizon” enriched in clay minerals. Alfisols are suitable for agriculture and often support forests.
  8. Ultisols: Ultisols are soils found in humid tropical and subtropical regions. They are characterized by a subsurface horizon called the “argillic horizon” enriched in clay minerals. Ultisols are typically acidic and may have low nutrient availability.
  9. Aqualfs: Aqualfs are soils found in humid tropical and subtropical regions with poor drainage. They often experience waterlogging, which leads to reduced aeration and the development of anoxic conditions. Aqualfs are associated with swampy or flooded areas.
  10. Oxisols: Oxisols are highly weathered soils found in tropical rainforest regions. They are characterized by a subsurface horizon enriched in iron and aluminum oxides. Oxisols are often acidic and have low fertility due to intense weathering.

These soil orders represent the major zonal soil types associated with specific climatic and environmental conditions. Each soil order has unique characteristics that reflect the dominant processes and factors influencing soil formation in its respective zone. Understanding these soil orders is important for agriculture, land management, and ecological studies in different regions of the world.

Soils are classified based on their zonal distribution, which means categorizing them according to the major climatic and environmental factors that influence their formation. One of the soil orders classified based on zonal distribution is Pedocals. Pedocals are soils associated with arid and semi-arid regions. Here are the characteristics of Pedocals:

Characteristics of Pedocals:

  1. Zonal Distribution: Pedocals are typically found in arid and semi-arid regions, where limited rainfall and high evaporation rates prevail. These soils are common in deserts and steppe regions.
  2. Texture: Pedocals often have a coarse texture, with a sandy or loamy texture being common. This texture allows for rapid drainage and is a result of the limited leaching of minerals due to low precipitation.
  3. Calcium Carbonate Accumulation: One of the defining characteristics of Pedocals is the accumulation of calcium carbonate (calcite) in the soil profile. This accumulation occurs as a result of the arid environment, where evaporation exceeds precipitation, leading to the upward movement of dissolved calcium carbonate from the lower soil layers.
  4. Caliche Layers: Caliche is a term used to describe the hard, cemented layers of calcium carbonate that can form within Pedocals. Caliche layers can be quite dense and impervious to water, affecting drainage in the soil.
  5. Alkaline pH: Pedocals tend to have an alkaline pH due to the presence of calcium carbonate. The pH may range from mildly alkaline to strongly alkaline, depending on the extent of calcium carbonate accumulation.
  6. Low Organic Matter Content: Arid environments typically have limited vegetation and organic matter input, leading to low organic matter content in Pedocals. This makes the soil less fertile and less capable of retaining moisture.
  7. Sparse Vegetation: The harsh conditions in Pedocal regions, characterized by limited water availability and poor soil fertility, result in sparse vegetation. Plant adaptation to these conditions often involves drought-resistant and salt-tolerant species.
  8. Low Biological Activity: Soil biological activity, including the activity of microorganisms, is generally low in Pedocals due to the limited availability of organic matter and moisture.
  9. Minimal Horizon Development: Pedocals often have minimal horizon development, meaning they lack distinct soil horizons (layers). The accumulation of calcium carbonate can create a relatively uniform, cemented soil profile.
  10. Challenges for Agriculture: While Pedocals can support some drought-tolerant crops and vegetation, they pose significant challenges for agriculture. The low fertility, alkalinity, and limited water-holding capacity make them less suitable for many agricultural practices without extensive soil improvement measures.

Overall, Pedocals are soils that have adapted to the arid and semi-arid conditions of their zonal distribution. Their characteristics, including calcium carbonate accumulation and alkaline pH, reflect the unique environmental factors of these regions. Understanding the properties of Pedocals is essential for land management decisions and sustainable land use in arid environments.