Friday, 14 July 2006 - 4:35 PM

Some Theoretical Questions of a History of a Soil Cover and Civilization.

Lev O. Karpachevskiy1, Tatiana A. Zubkova2, and Yunus N. Ashinov2. (1) Moscow State Univ , Faculty of Soil Science, Leninskie Dory, Home 1, Stroenie 12, Moscow, 119992, Russia, (2) Moscow State Univ, Faculty of Soil Science, Leninskie Dory, Home 1, Stroenie 12, Moscow, 119992, Russia

Active anthropogenous influence on a soil cover began 30-40 thousand years ago, but it was limited by recreation, fires and excavation. 10 thousand years ago there was agriculture and it has arisen as ritual action. About dwellings people planted different plants. Their selection promoted accumulation of seeds of useful plants. Economic crops of these plants have begun. The most ancient center of economic agriculture counts a fertile “half moon”: the grounds from a mouth of Euphrates through a valley Jordan up to a mouth of Nile. Here fertile soils and a soft climate promoted occurrence of commodity agriculture. However grounds of a “half moon” are not the most fertile: they concern to flood plain soils, brown desert-steppe soils and gray-brown. The hot climate of region promotes high speed in diffusion of nutrient in soils and their easier availability to plants. But these lack ground water. For this reason the irrigation on them has been applied. The irrigation promoted formation irrigational soils, increasing up and to preservation of fertility within millennia. Gradually agriculture was displaced to the north, having grasped Greece, Italy, and Asia Minor. But enormous spaces of steppe have been occupied with nomads, cattlemen. Agriculture in a moderate zone first of all has occupied grey and brown forest soils. They are fertile enough and have the washing water regime, allowing using of these soils without an irrigation. After development of these soils agriculture moved ahead on the north and due to monasteries has reached even Far North, up to Solovkii. Thus monks created alluvial fertile soils and used early ripening varieties of plants. Transformation of nomads into settled peoples has led to development of agricultural soils in steppes that has caused outflow of farmers from a soddy-podzolic zone in steppe. In Russia the first mass development of steppe soils began in XIX century. In the beginning of XX century - development of steppes of the Asian part of Russia, and the ground for peasants was selected by soil scientists (chief of expeditions was K.D. Glinka). It is necessary to pay attention to that fact, that gradually the center of a civilization also from a fertile “half moon” moved to the north: first to Greece and Rome, and then to France, England, Germany. These countries are of a temperate climate on soils with average and even low fertility. Similar movement of the centers of a civilization can be noted and for the American continent. Civilizations of Inky, Aztecs and Maya were gradually replaced to a North American civilization. Thus southern states appeared more backward, than northern. In England and Germany the drainage and then fertilizer that has radically changed conducting an agriculture and productivity of soils began to be applied widely. In Russia chernozems were the most fertile soils. On these soils production of a corn was the most profitable. But agriculture results in change of a soil cover. A part of these changes are reduced to degradation of soils, a part - to their improvement. So, development of soddy-podzolic and podzolic soils in frameworks cut-trees-fire systems has led to erosion of the top layer (horizon À2=Å), and to an output on a surface of illuvial horizon B. Actually, anthropogenous soddy-podzolic and podzolic soils have turned in brown. Deeply-humus monastic soils and vegetable garden soils also, as irrigational, represent anthropogenous improved grounds. All these soils are a positive result of long-term cultivation by man. But there are other examples connected to degradation of soils. It is erosion, reduction of humus layer, formation secondary salinized soils both solonchac on gray soils and chernozems at watering and solid chernozems. Supervision allows making a number of very important conclusions. At first, agriculture is productive there where it is created or there is by nature washing water regime. Second, different soils are differently stability against influence. A number of soils (podzolic or soddy-podzolic) at the careful attitude only improve properties. But any excessive intervention during a life of soils (superfluous having watered, much fertilizers, and pesticides) results in degradation of soils. Soils with washing type of a water regime are more favorable at the tendency to soil pollution by heavy metals, xenobiotics. In them processes of autopurification are more advanced. In soils with not washing water regime purification of soils is determined by processes of destruction of the toxic substances, immobilization their by soil minerals. It is possible, for this reason the civilization finally suited "headquarters" on soils with a washing water regime where soil degradation is less dangerous. It is necessary to note the general tendency. Even before invasion khan Baty the center of Russia has moved on the North, in Vladimir region. Baty invasion has ruined the Vladimir princedom and promoted an eminence of Moscow, but not Kiev or other southern princedoms. Soils of the Moscow princedom were appreciablly worse than the northern Ukraine. But they, due to optimum humidifying, yielded a stable harvest, including winter crops. So, development of civilizations goes not on the best soils, and on soils demanding land improvement or fertilizer. But it is important, that the water regime was on these soils favorable and if the irrigation it should not be accompanied secondary salinization is used.

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