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Soil geography and diversity of the European biogeographical regions

AuthorsIbáñez, J. J. ; Zinck, J. A.; Dazzi, C.
Soil minorities
Soil geography
Soil endemisms
Biogeographical regions
Issue DateJan-2013
CitationGeoderma 192: 142-153 (2013)
AbstractFor decades, soil geography has beenmainly a qualitative and descriptive discipline. There are nowtechnologies and mathematical tools available that allow formalizing soil geography in more quantitative terms. In this paper, the distribution and diversity of the soils of Europe are analyzed using GIS tools and pedodiversity algorithms. Soil data were taken from the European Soil Database (V2.0) and computed within the spatial framework 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 dominant soils and endemic and non-endemic soil minorities, and their respective soil diversity for each BGRE. Most BGRE have dominant soils thatmainly reflect the influence of the climatic conditions prevailing in each regional context. Although the definition of the BGRE lacks relevant information on geology, relief and paleogeographic evolution, soil assemblages of most biogeographical regions are idiosyncratic and characterize quite well the European soilscapes. Northern BGRE (i.e. Arctic and Boreal) have low pedotaxa diversity in contrast to the other BGRE. The mountain biome has the highest pedorichness at European as well as at global level. The Atlantic andMediterranean regions and, to some extent, the Alpine region aremutually related.Most continental soilscapes constitute a mix of typical steppe and forest soils. The Black Sea region, the smallest one of all, has no idiosyncratic soil type, suggesting that it could be considered as an important biodiversity hotspot rather than a genuine biogeographical region. These results are relevant as baseline information for a full inventory of pedodiversity and as an important part of the European natural heritage. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2012.07.024
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