Guidelines for soil description and classification: Central and Eastern European. Students' version
Novák, Tibor József
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Soil investigation may be carried out on various levels of knowledge, research capacity and proficiency. Scientists commonly apply advanced methodology for soil resources inventory, including the professional terminology for landscape and soil description, data acquisition and processing, soil classification and mapping, soil and land evaluation. By default, an internationally accepted system should be recommended. An implementation of such methodology is also recommended in more advanced courses of soil science studies on bachelor and master study levels. However, the long-term teaching experience reveals difficulties connected mainly with complicated terminology and excessive number of characteristics obligatory to know, and justifies some simplification of the language, rules and structure at the introductory stage of teaching. This was the base and rationale for the preparation of simplified Guidelines for Soil Description and Classification: Central and Eastern European Students' Version. This book is divided into three parts. The first one - Site and soil description - follows the layout and content of professional edition of Guidelines for Soil Description, 4th ed., published by FAO (2005), simplified for educational purposes. The order of description has been modified to correspond to the layout of an original Soil description sheet. The second part - Soil classification - is a simplified WRB classification (based on a 2014/2015 edition) limited to reference soil groups known from Central Europe. The third part is an Illustrated explanatory guide that includes: i) examples of typical soil profiles for all Central European Reference Soil Groups; ii) morphological features important for soil description and identification in the field; iii) soil-landscape relationships. The photos have been enriched with graphical tips helpful at the recognizing of important soil features. The textbook was developed in the framework of EU Erasmus+ FACES project (Freely Accessible Central European Soil) aiming to facilitate the knowledge and implementation of an international rules of soil characterization adopted by the FAO. It will be used to unify the presentation of soil data collected in the partner countries. The interpretation of soil data fully based on the international soil classification WRB (World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2015) as WRB was endorsed by the lnternational Union of Soil Sciences (lUSS) and accepted by the European Commission as an official system for the European Union. Therefore, this guideline might be a starting point for preparation of basic teaching materials to spread the knowledge on an internationally recommended rules and terminology for soil description and classification. However, this guideline is designed as teaching tool for students in Central and Eastern European countries and therefore it may not be applicable worldwide. Moreover, it is suited for the "first step" training, and it is not substituting any professional original classification. Authors of this guidebook assume that the users are familiar with the basic knowledge in soil science. Therefore, the guidelines do not contain explanations related to basic soil forming factors, soil forming processes and basic physico-chemical features.