Soil geography and diversity of the European biogeographical regions

Carmelo Dazzi, Zinck, Ibáñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For decades, soil geography has beenmainly a qualitative and descriptive discipline. There are nowtechnologiesand mathematical tools available that allow formalizing soil geography in more quantitative terms. In thispaper, the distribution and diversity of the soils of Europe are analyzed using GIS tools and pedodiversityalgorithms. Soil data were taken from the European Soil Database (V2.0) and computed within the spatialframework of the Biogeographical Regions of Europe (BGRE) as defined by the European Environmental Agency(EEA) on the basis of climate and vegetation. The results obtained show the soil assemblages, including dominantsoils and endemic and non-endemic soil minorities, and their respective soil diversity for each BGRE. MostBGRE have dominant soils thatmainly reflect the influence of the climatic conditions prevailing in each regionalcontext. Although the definition of the BGRE lacks relevant information on geology, relief and paleogeographicevolution, soil assemblages of most biogeographical regions are idiosyncratic and characterize quite well theEuropean soilscapes. Northern BGRE (i.e. Arctic and Boreal) have low pedotaxa diversity in contrast to theother BGRE. The mountain biome has the highest pedorichness at European as well as at global level. TheAtlantic andMediterranean regions and, to some extent, the Alpine region aremutually related.Most continentalsoilscapes constitute a mix of typical steppe and forest soils. The Black Sea region, the smallest one of all, has noidiosyncratic soil type, suggesting that it could be considered as an important biodiversity hotspot rather than agenuine biogeographical region. These results are relevant as baseline information for a full inventory ofpedodiversity and as an important part of the European natural heritage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-153
Number of pages12
JournalGeoderma
Volume192
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science

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