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CHERNOZEM DEGRADATION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS

J. Hladky, M. Brtnicky, J. Elbl, A. Kintl, J. Kynicky
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

Chernozem soil-type forms 11% of the agricultural land fund in the Czech Republic. It is located in the driest and warmest regions of the Czech Republic. It occurs up to an altitude of 300 m a. s. l. with an average annual temperature of 8 °C and an annual precipitation of 450 - 650 mm. The very thick humus horizon was formed by the accumulation of humus under the steppe or forest-steppe vegetation. In the Czech Republic, such land is exclusively used for agricultural purposes. Therefore, its character of steppe soil still remains. It is very good agricultural land. It suffers from a lack of water only occasionally and is suitable for the most demanding crops, such as sugar beet, maize, wheat, alfalfa and barley. However, massive degradation of chernozem soils is occurring due to inappropriate farming in the Czech Republic. During 1960 – 1972, an extensive soil survey was carried out in the former Czechoslovakia. The aim of this survey was not only a detailed mapping of individual soil types but also assessment of their physical and chemical properties. At present, there is a new project dealing with the degradation of the chernozem. In total, 45 soil pits have been excavated. The aim of the work is to determine the degradation degree of chernozem caused by anthropogenic activity, especially by water erosion. Compared to survey realized within 1960 - 1972, the humus content decreased significantly, on average by 0.75 % in topsoil and by 0.32 % in subsoil. There was detected a decrease in pH by 1 degree in topsoil and even by 1.2 in subsoil. Due to erosion, the topsoil layer was reduced by 25 - 35 cm. Significant degradation is manifested even by results of physical properties, especially air and water characteristics. Chernozem soils contain less humus, are more acid and have inconvenient air and water characteristics, when we compare our results with the survey realized in 1960 - 1972. Unfortunately, the unfavorable trend still continues.

Keywords: chernozem, degradation, soil, topsoil, subsoil


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