The umbric epipedon is a diagnostic surface horizon recognized by both the World Reference Base for Soil Resources and the U.S. Soil Taxonomy. It is mainly characterized by a dark color, a moderate to high content of OM, and a base saturation of less than 50%. In the N Apennines, Central Italy, forest soils over 600-700 m a.s.l. often have this epipedon. This paper stresses the morphological, chemical, and biological properties of the epipedon, specifically in the Vallombrosa Forest, where considerable work has been done in the last decade. Here, the umbric epipedon forms on sandstone, in high forests of Abies alba, Fagus sylvatica, and Castanea sativa. It does not have homogeneous properties throughout its thickness and often is divided into two distinct genetic horizons, A1 and A2. The All horizon is thinner, darker, and richer in OM, more base-saturated, and biologically more active than the underlying A2 horizon. The mean residence time of the bulk OM amounts to about a century in the A1 horizon, versus half a millennium in the A2. In both A1 and A2 horizons, the non-humic fraction prevails in the OM; this could account for the high susceptibility of the umbric epipedon to degrade when the forest is clear-cut or undergoes extensive uprooting due to windstorms or heavy snow loads. Significant discrepancies between the two A horizons have been found in regard to the microbial community. Umbric epipedons which developed under different tree species show minor differences, mainly concerning the microbial community.

The umbric epipedon in the N Apennines, Italy – an example from the Vallombrosa Forest / G. SANESI; G. CERTINI. - In: JOURNAL OF PLANT NUTRITION AND SOIL SCIENCE. - ISSN 1436-8730. - STAMPA. - 168(2005), pp. 392-398. [10.1002/jpln.200421651]

The umbric epipedon in the N Apennines, Italy – an example from the Vallombrosa Forest

CERTINI, GIACOMO
2005

Abstract

The umbric epipedon is a diagnostic surface horizon recognized by both the World Reference Base for Soil Resources and the U.S. Soil Taxonomy. It is mainly characterized by a dark color, a moderate to high content of OM, and a base saturation of less than 50%. In the N Apennines, Central Italy, forest soils over 600-700 m a.s.l. often have this epipedon. This paper stresses the morphological, chemical, and biological properties of the epipedon, specifically in the Vallombrosa Forest, where considerable work has been done in the last decade. Here, the umbric epipedon forms on sandstone, in high forests of Abies alba, Fagus sylvatica, and Castanea sativa. It does not have homogeneous properties throughout its thickness and often is divided into two distinct genetic horizons, A1 and A2. The All horizon is thinner, darker, and richer in OM, more base-saturated, and biologically more active than the underlying A2 horizon. The mean residence time of the bulk OM amounts to about a century in the A1 horizon, versus half a millennium in the A2. In both A1 and A2 horizons, the non-humic fraction prevails in the OM; this could account for the high susceptibility of the umbric epipedon to degrade when the forest is clear-cut or undergoes extensive uprooting due to windstorms or heavy snow loads. Significant discrepancies between the two A horizons have been found in regard to the microbial community. Umbric epipedons which developed under different tree species show minor differences, mainly concerning the microbial community.
168
392
398
G. SANESI; G. CERTINI
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2158/13428
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