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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 1
Solid Earth, 9, 63–74, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-9-63-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Solid Earth, 9, 63–74, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-9-63-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 31 Jan 2018

Research article | 31 Jan 2018

The hidden ecological resource of andic soils in mountain ecosystems: evidence from Italy

Fabio Terribile1,2, Michela Iamarino1, Giuliano Langella1, Piero Manna2,3, Florindo Antonio Mileti1, Simona Vingiani1,2, and Angelo Basile2,3 Fabio Terribile et al.
  • 1Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Via Università 100, 80055 Portici (Naples), Italy
  • 2CRISP, Interdepartmental Research Centre on the Earth Critical Zone, University of Naples Federico II, Via Università 100, 80055 Portici (Naples), Italy
  • 3Institute for Mediterranean Agricultural and Forestry Systems, National Research Council of Italy, Via Patacca 85, 80056 Ercolano (Naples), Italy

Abstract. Andic soils have unique morphological, physical, and chemical properties that induce both considerable soil fertility and great vulnerability to land degradation. Moreover, they are the most striking mineral soils in terms of large organic C storage and long C residence time. This is especially related to the presence of poorly crystalline clay minerals and metal–humus complexes. Recognition of andic soils is then very important.

Here we attempt to show, through a combined analysis of 35 sampling points chosen in accordance to specific physical and vegetation rules, that some andic soils have an utmost ecological importance.

More specifically, in Italian non-volcanic mountain ecosystems ( > 600 m a.s.l.) combining low slope (< 21 %) and highly active green biomass (high NDVI values) and in agreement to recent findings, we found the widespread occurrence of andic soils having distinctive physical and hydrological properties including low bulk density and remarkably high water retention. Most importantly, we report a demonstration of the ability of these soils to affect ecosystem functions by analysing their influence on the timescale acceleration of photosynthesis estimated by NDVI measurements.

Our results are hoped to be a starting point for better understanding of the ecological importance of andic soils and also possibly to better consider pedological information in C balance calculations.

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Andic soils have unique morphological, physical and chemical properties that induce both considerable soil fertility and great vulnerability to land degradation. Here we attempt to show that soils rich in poorly crystalline clay minerals have an utmost ecological importance. Our results are hoped to be a starting point for better understanding the ecological importance of andic soils and also possibly to better consider pedological information in carbon balance calculations.
Andic soils have unique morphological, physical and chemical properties that induce both...
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