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    STUDIA GEOGRAPHIA - Issue no. 2 / 2006  

Authors:  H.L. CACOVEAN.
  Abstract:  Differentiation of the Soils Properties Evolution Depending on Vegetation Type. The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of forest and grassland on two soils of the Transylvanian Plain. A prairie-forest transition zone less than 250 m was studied in this hill-pedological cover with an eluvial regime and another were strong leaching was not so evident. The three-dimensional analysis showed the past and actual transformation of a Typic Preluvosol (typic hapludalfs) into Typic Luvosol (typic cryoboralfs). This transition occurred in several stages, whose main are iron depth migration, accompanied by losses of clay and organic materials as soils were progressively transformed into leached and more acidic Typic Luvosol. These parameters were combined into a "natural index" which differs significantly between ancient and actual forest and grassland and can be easily and cost-effectively obtained to asses the degree of man-made disturbance of landscape on loess-derived soils. A temporary water-table appears shortly during the winter, upon the argilic horizon (Bt) that favours the migration of organic matter and other chemical elements. During the dry season, in this region the vegetation suffers from lack of water, what explains the appearance on these soils the important xerophytic species development. Alteration of Typic Luvosol following withdrawal of forest vegetation from prairie depends on scale physiographical effects as well as smaller scale microrelief effects. This pedological study indicates that landscape control of water movement plays an important role in soil development and regulation of ecosystems processes. Thus, we have also, in this area, an example of pedological differenciation, perhaps of micro-climatic origin, that flows into forest and grassland cover development.  
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