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Soils of China

The Soil Atlas of China






According to the classification system of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1977, China's soil can be divided into twenty-two types:

Alluvial soil: Formed by the modern alluvia of rivers, this soil is found over extensive areas, mostly in the North China Plain.
Gley: Constantly saturated with underground or surface waters and therefore with distinctive features of gleization, gley is a kind of clay present in both the north and the south~
Skeleton soil: Formed in the initial stage of pedogenesis with skeletonization as its main feature, this soil is widespread in the various climatic zones throughout the country.
Stony soil: This type of soil is found in steep mountains, mostly in mountain regions in the northwest arid areas.
Rendzina: This is a soil found chiefly in limestone areas in the south.
Shallow soil: Formed from stony soil, shallow soil is found mainly in the mountains on the southeast rim of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in the upper parts of the mountains in the northwest arid areas and some of the igneous-rock mountains in the south.
Vertisol: Widespread in the Huaibei Plain, this kind of soil is composed of lime concretion (sajong soil) of different shapes commonly found in the soil sections of perennially high underground water level
Solonchak: With a soluble saline content in the earth's surface larger than 0.6-2 percent, solonchak is found mainly in the northwest arid areas and the waterlogged lowlands in the eastern seaboard regions.
Desert soil: Desert soil is widespread in the northwest arid regions, with very weak accumulation of organic matter.
Arid soil: This soil is found extensively in the transition areas between arid and .semiarid zones.
Chestnut soil: This is the most important soil in the temperate steppe regions.
Chernozem: This high-fertility soil is found mostly in temperate forest grasslands.
Black earth: A humus-rich and plant-nutrition-rich dark-coloured soil, black earth is found only in the meadow grassland regions in the northeast.
Podzol: Podzol is formed under the forests of the temperate forest grasslands.
Inceptisol: Formed generally in the early stage of soil formation, inceptisoloccurs over vast areas in the humid and semihumid regions.
Eluvial soil: This type of soil is usually formed under the temperate mixed coniferous and broadleaf forests.
Podzolized eluvial soil: This soil is formed mainly under coniferous forests in cold and moist surroundings.
Claypan soil: Claypan is found over vast areas in the eastern humid regions.
Acrisol: This soil is found mostly in subtropical regions.
Nitosol: Found mostly in Yunnan and Guangxi, nitosol shows strong acid reaction.
Ferrallitic soil: This soil is formed under the tropical monsoon forests or rainforest.
Organic soil: Organic soil is found mostly in swamplands and over vast areas in the Sanjiang Plain and the Ruoergai Plateau.

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