Biological influence on the morphology and micromorphology of selected Podzols (Spodosols) and Cambisols (Inceptisols) from the Eastern United States and Northeast Scotland

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    Biological activities greatly influence the formation of many soils, especially forest soils under cool humid climates. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of vegetation and soil biota on the formation of selected soils. Field morphology, micromorphology, and carbon and organic matter analysis were determined on six Podzols (Spodosols) and two Cambisols (Inceptisols) from the eastern United States and north-east Scotland. Humification of plant material by soil fauna and fungi occurs in all organic horizons. Thick organic coatings are observed on soil peds and rock fragments from the E1 to the Bs horizon in a Haplic Podzol from Clingmans Dome Mt., TN. Thin sections reveal large accumulations of root material in different stages of decomposition in the spodic horizons of a Haplic Podzol from Whiteface Mt., NY. Organic carbon ranges from 5.4 to 8.5% in the spodic B horizons of the Whiteface Mt. Podzol. Earthworms and enchytraeids have a great effect on the structure of the surface and subsurface horizons in the Dystric Cambisols from Huntly and Clashindarroch Forests, Scotland and a Cambic Podzol from the Corrie Burn Basin, Scotland. Podzols from Speymouth Forest, Scotland (Gleyic Podzol), Cling-mans Dome Mt., and Whiteface Mt. have thick organic horizons. The Podzols from the Flatwoods in Georgia, the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, the Corrie Burn Basin, and the Cambisol from Huntly Forest have only A horizons at the surface. The Clashindarroch Forest soil has a very thin organic horizon. Warm and humid climates and sandy parent material are responsible for thick E horizons and lack of thick organic horizons in the Flatwoods (Carbic Podzol) and Pine Barrens (Ferric Podzol) soils. Earthworms and enchytraeids thrive in the Corrie Burn Basin and Huntly Forest soils due to the vegetation and the highly weathered basic parent material. The site at Clashindarroch once carried oak, and then birch forest, both of which produce a mild litter and also encourage earthworm and enchytraeids. This fauna is responsible for much mixing of the topsoil. The present conifer vegetation will eventually produce a deep litter and cause podzolization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)327-364
    Number of pages38
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Soil Science
    • Earth-Surface Processes


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