Main authors: Gergely Tóth (Joint Research Centre), Xiaodong Song (Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Tamás Hermann (University of Pannonia), Brigitta Tóth (University of Pannonia)
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: Tóth, G.. et al. (2016) Hierarchical and multi-scale pedoclimatic zonation. iSQAPER Project Deliverable 2.1 125 pp


Contents table
1. Main features of the pedoclimatic zones 

1. Main features of the pedoclimatic zones

Regional differentiation of soil genesis and processes is mainly considered. It refers not only to the soil and the climate, vegetation, topography, and parent material for a long time and integrated effects, but also contains soil processes and behavior characteristics of the soil itself. Therefore, when to delineate the soil zones, it cannot simply adopt the soil conditions zonality, or the geology and geomorphology, but should pay close attention to the soil formation, development of natural geographical and historical background.

The eastern part of Inner Mongolia, Southeast of the Loess Plateau and the Tibetan Plateau are designated as a level of soil zone, which is according to our understanding of the principle of consideration. This vast region has similar conditions in terms of the soil, the development of regional natural historical background. In the eastern monsoon region to the northwest inland arid area of the transition zone, main vegetation types are the forest, forest steppe and steppe where geomorphology is since Tertiary uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and mountain. In this area the loess and loose materials are widely distributed. The dryness is more than or equal to 1.0 and smaller than 3.5, equivalent to the ustic moisture condition. The soil types are mainly Ustic Cambosols and Ustic Argosols. For the agricultural management, dry land is used for the basic farmland. Here a business oriented management system of water-saving agriculture is developed. Therefore, it is appropriate to separate this area for the soil and agricultural production planning.

Table: Summary of each pedoclimatic zone

Primary zone Secondary zone  Reference Soil Groups Accumulated
annual air temperature
> 10°C
Lowest monthly
air temperature (°C)
Dryness (K) Vegetation Agriculture Type
I Eastern Udic Soil Moisture Zones       I.1: Cold temperate zone »PODZOLS
 <1600 <-30   0.4-1.0 Coniferous forest One sesaon, very early crop
I.2: Middle temperate zone »CAMBISOLS
1600-3200 -30 to -12 <1.0
(part 1.0-2.0)
Mixed broadleaf-conifer forest One year one crop, mainly spring wheat
I.3: Warm temperate zone »LUVISOLS
3200-4500  -12 to 0  1.0-2.0 Deciduous forest Two years three crops, mainly winter wheat
I.4: Northern subtropical zone »ANTHROSOLS
4500-5100  0 to 4  0.4-1.0 Evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved forest One year two crops, mainly rice and wheat
I.5: Mid-subtropical zone »ACRISOLS
5100-6900  4 to 10 0.4-10
(part <0.4)
Evergreen broad-leaved forest  Two year five crops, double cropping rice
I.6: Southern subtropical zone »ACRISOLS
6900-8000  10 to 15 0.4-10
(part <0.4)
Monsoon forext, evergreen broad-leaved forest One year three crops, double cropping rice
I.7: Tropical zone FERRALSOLS
>8000  >15 0.4-1.0 Rainforest, monsoon forest

Thermopilic crops, annual growth

II Middle Ustic Soil Moisture Zones    II.1: Middle temperate zone »PHAEOZEMS
1600-3200  -30 to -12  1.0-3.5 Steppe  One year one crop, chimonophilous crops
II.2: Warm temperate zone »CAMBISOLS
 3200-4500  -12 to 0 1.0-3.0 Forest steppe Two year three crops or one year two crops
II.3: Plateau temperate zone »CAMBISOLS
   -10 to 0   0.4-2.0 Coniferous forest, Valley shrub grassland  One year one or two crops 
II.4: Plateau subfrigid zone »LEPTOSOLS
  -10 to -6 1.0-2.0 Alpine meadow Animal Husbandry
III Northwestern Arid Zones      III.1: Middle temperate zone »CALCISOLS
  -30 to -12 3.5-14 Steppe, desert One year one crop, mainly winter wheat and cotton
 III.2: Warm temperate zone »GYPSISOLS
  -12 to 0  >14 Shrub and desert Two year three crops or one year two crops
III.3: Plateau temperate zone »CALCISOLS
  -10 to 0 2.0-14 Alpine grasslands, meadows local coniferous forest Animal Husbandry
III.4: Plateau temperate zone »UMBRISOLS
  -10 to 0 1.0-3.5 Alpine grassland Alpine agriculture
III.5: Plateau subfrigid zone »CAMBISOLS
  -10 to -6 2.0-3.5 Alpine grassland Animal Husbandry
III.6: Plateau frigid zone »CAMBISOLS
  -18 to -10 2.0-3.5 Alpine desert No man's land


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