From landscape to domain: Soils role in landscape classifications

TitleFrom landscape to domain: Soils role in landscape classifications
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSalley SW, Brown J.
Conference NameInternational Soil Modeling Consortium (ISMC) Inaugural Workshop
Date Published3/2016
PublisherInternational Soil Modeling Consortium (ISMC) Inaugural Workshop
Conference LocationAustin, TX
ARIS Log Number329340

Soil landscape classifications are designed to divide landscapes into units with significance for the provisioning and regulating of ecosystem services and the development of conservation plans for natural resources. More specifically, such classifications serve as the basis for stratifying management strategies relevant to any given ecosystem’s biotic and abiotic properties. The purpose for delineating resource units is to identify geographical areas at different levels of resolution that have similar capabilities and potentials for management. As soil variability is scale-dependent in both space and time, it is important to understand spatial and temporal variables controlling soil and ecosystem function at specific scales of interest. Often soil geographic models at regional and domain scales are based on up-scaled data aggregated from the downscale soil properties. Yet at macroscales, soil ecosystems are controlled by macroclimatic properties that control daily and seasonal fluxes of energy and moisture, such as latitude (variability of soil energy), distance from the sea (continentality or oceanic influences), and elevation. It is only at mesoscale and microscale levels that landform properties (such as geology and topography) modify macroclimates by regulating the intensity of other key factors important to soil formation. Although results are preliminary, we show that landscape classification models identifying regional and domain scaled soil systems should be based on the more homogeneous macroclimate variables, as these systems lay above the local modifying influences of landforms.