Major Soil Groups of the World: Ecology, Genesis, Properties and Classification, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Major Soil Groups of the World

Ecology, Genesis, Properties and Classification, 1st Edition

By Jean-Paul Legros

CRC Press

478 pages | 189 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781578087839
pub: 2012-09-20
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pub: 2012-09-20
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This profusely illustrated book gives an exhaustive account of the principal types of soils of our planet. The "progressive descent of weathering fronts" model, recognized and used by eminent international scientists is the guiding principle of choice to link the observations and to give the reader a synthetic and coherent view of the differentiation of soils. In each case, the introductory reminders summarize the physicochemical and mineralogical principles necessary for understanding the text. The nomenclatures rely systematically and simultaneously on the two most commonly used classifications: Soil Taxonomy and World Reference Base. This reference manual is aimed at students of the undergraduate and graduate courses, but is also intended for workers and scientists in this subject area (geologists, pedologists, agronomists, land-use planners, foresters, etc.) as well as for all those concerned with or interested in protection of the environment.


"Profusely illustrated throughout with photos and diagrams, [the book] is exhaustively comprehensive, informed, informative, superbly organized and a model of seminal scholarship making it ideal as a curriculum textbook and highly recommended for professional academic library Agricultural Science and Environmental Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists."

—Midwest Book Review

"This is the English language edition of the I.e.r Grand.r Solr Du Mrmde (2007), tanslated by V. A. K. Sharma. There are four chapters on general topics, and one each on 10 globally important soil types. This book is useful to Anglophone readers because the strong French emphasis introduces unfamiliar studies and fresh concepts. It is a highly personal, almost valedictory, exposition. It organizes a great deal of material in a logical way and the text is generally succinct and clear. "

—Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 2013

Table of Contents


Definitions, Concepts and Tools

Basic Concepts

Methods for Study of Pedogenesis

Dating and Tracing

Factors of Pedogenesis



Time and Age of Soils

Geomorphology and Surface Formations

Vegetation and Humus

Soil Fauna and Microorganisms


Progressive Descent of Weathering Fronts, other Pedogenetic Mechanisms and Spatial Organization of Soils

Vertical Differentiation of Soils

Mechanisms of Evolution of Soils

Mineralogical Evolution of Clays

Attempt at Modelling

Organization of Soils at all Scales

Classifications: International WRB and U.S. Soil Taxonomy

Historical Review

World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB)

The American Classification

Ferralsols and other Soils of the Hot Regions


Typical Profile and Differentiation

Duration of Pedogenesis

Ecology and Classification

Evolution of Ferrallitic Environments

Land Use


Typical Profile and Differentiation

Ecology and Typology




Evolution/Degradation of Vertisols

Return to the Weathering-front Model

Utilization of Vertisols

Calcisols and other Soils on Carbonate-Bearing and Sulphate-Bearing Materials


Distribution of Calcareous and Ca-saturated Soils

Decarbonatation Phenomena

Accumulation Phenomena

Typology and Classification

Utilization of Calcareous Soils

Cambisols, Luvisols and Planosols

Fundamental Mechanisms of Development

Development of the Profiles

Typology and Classification

Ecology and Duration of Pedogenesis

Conservation and Utilization

Red Soils of the Mediterranean and Dry Tropical Zones

Soil Sequences in the Rhône Valley

Ecology of the Red Soils

Classification and Typology

Utilization of the Soils


Principal Features and Ecology

The ‘Amorphous Materials’ in Andosols

Genesis of Andosols

Properties of Andosols

Typology and Classification

Protection and Utilization

Podzolic Soils

Morphology and Properties of Podzolic Soils


Genesis of Podzols

Typology and Classification

Utilization of Podzolic Soils

Gleysols, Stagnosols and Histosols

Oxidation-reduction Phenomena

Dynamics of Iron in Presence of Excess Water

Evolution of Organic Matter when Excess Water is present

Gleysols and Stagnosols

Marshes and Peatlands

Mangrove Swamps

Rice Paddies

Saline Soils: Solonchaks and Solonetz

Expression of Salinity

Origin of Soil Salinity

Properties of Saline Soils

Dynamics of Salts

Evolution and Typology of Saline Soils

Elements of Land Reclamation

Appendix: Brief Glossary for Saline Soils

Chernozems; General Conclusions

The Chernozem


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General