Saturday, 15 July 2006

European Soil Visual Assessment - Field Guide.

Beata Houskova and Luca Montanarella. Institute for Environment & Sustainability, Joint Research Centre, Via Enrico Fermi 1, TP 280, Ispra (VA), 21020, Italy

In connection to Visual Soil Assessment, originally developed in other parts of the world, the European Soil Visual Assessment is comming out as guidelines for direct soil evaluation in the field. Soil Visual Assessment (SVA) is based on evaluation of soil properties and soil indicators, mainly morphological, physical, biological and partly chemical which are visible or possible to distinguish without laboratory analyses. SVA can be used as support tool in soil survey, soil quality assessment, soil state and soil suitability evaluation. Applied Soil Visual Assessment is taking into account evaluation of soil properties according to land use and major European crops. Main soil properties and indicators evaluated in Soil Visual Assessment are: soil texture and stoniness, soil structure or size and shape of soil aggregates, degree of clod development, consistence, soil porosity, bioporosity, crust and cracks formation, soil color, number and color of soil mottles, soil depth and thickness of humus horizon, number of earthworms, tillage pan presence, thickness and depth, presence and percentage of soil wetting, water stagnation on soil surface or soil drainage capacity, presence and degree of soil erosion, soil hydrofobicity, depth to groundwater table, presence of carbonates. This list of soil properties and indicators is not definite and can be extended as well as shorten according to purposes of each evaluation. According to relative importance weight factor is given to single parameters included in the final evaluation of investigated soil. Reference: Graham Shepherd (2000): Visual Soil Assessment, ISBN 1-877221-92-9, & Landcare Research, Report number 20/EXT/425, New Zealand.

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