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Soil System Sciences

Soil System Sciences

A view on peatlands

Mindaugas Lapele, staff of Dzukja National Park, and attendees of FESP4 during the field trip to the park (Lithuania).

During the last FESP4 (4th Int Meeting on Fire Effects on Soil Properties, Vilnius, Lithuania), participants in the meeting visited the Dzūkija National Park. This park was established in 1991 in the region of Varena (southern Lithuania).

The park extends over approximately 550 km2 along the Nemunas River, near the border between Lithuania and Belarus. The purpose for which it was founded was to protect the vegetation, landscape, ancient villages, historical and cultural monuments, and forests in southern Lithuania.

One of the major vegetation formations of the park is the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) forest, which is distributed on sandy soils and continental dunes formed during the last glacial periods.

Scots pine forest.

Poorly developed soils on sandy plains under Scots pines.

Another major formation is the bog, which is about 12 km in length and 7 km in width. Bogs and peatlands are generally lake basins of glacial origin. Due to the humid and acid dominant conditions, organic matter accumulates as peat without being decomposed. The Čepkeliai bog reserve is a wetland formed by more than 20 lakes and is partly covered by dwarf and shabby pines. Recurrent fires during dry periods make the expansion of the pine forest on peat difficult.

Bog in the Dzukija National Park.

Slice of Scots pine showing marks of wildfires.

Peatlands occur when organic material deposited exceeds decomposed into a pond or swamp. In this way the lagoon or marsh may end up filled with organic material and substantial portions of the bog lose contact with the water from the springs and ground water so supplied mainly passing rainwater. When this occurs as Sphagnum plants are favored because they are adapted to wet soils, acid and nutrient poor.

Peat.

This post was also published simultaneously in G-Soil.

Welcome to G-Soil!

The G-Soil team would like to begin by welcoming you to G-Soil. G-Soil is the official blog of the Soil System Sciences Division of the EGU and is a means of communication for all those interested in soil science and related areas. We hope you enjoy the blog as much as we enjoy the soil under our feet.

Young soil developed over limestone in semiarid Mediterranean conditions. Photo by J. Mataix-Solera. Click to see the original picture at Imaggeo.

Soil is the interface between the crust and atmosphere, and is the basis of life on Earth.  The impact of Soil Science on society has probably never been higher than it is today. However, despite all this and the large number of professionals in charge of its management, the intricacies of soil are largely an unknown entity to the general public. This blog will try to discuss, promote and enhance the understanding of information and research results generated by soil scientists.

Terra rossa (Algarve, Portugal). Click to see the original picture at Imaggeo.

Discussion on G-Soil posts is expected to help soil scientists in the dissemination of their ideas and knowledge. Therefore, this blog is multi-authored. The regular team of G-Soilers is formed by Antonio Jordán (Univ. of Seville, Sevilla, Spain), Jessica Drake (Australian National Univ., Acton, ACT, Australia), Lorena M. Zavala (Univ. of Seville, Sevilla, Spain), Paulo Pereira (Mykolas Romeris Univ., Vilnius, Lithuania) and Marc Oliva (Univ. of Lisbon, Portugal).

We intend this blog to be a means of open communication delivered by the Soil Science community and hope our contributors will continue to grow. So, the G-Soil team invites you to participate in the blog by sharing your impressions and ideas, as well as disseminating your research results, projects and publications in a way that can be understood by a wide audience, who may not be soil science specialists.

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Soil balls made by students for assessing soil texture by hand. Click to see the original picture at Imaggeo.

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