Chernozems

Chernozem soils, defined as soils occurring under grassland-forest transition, grasses and forbs, usually develop in cool to cold, subarid to subhumid climates (Soil Science Glossary, 1976). The cool climate region combined with the grasslands creates a favorable environment for chernozems to develop (Greenlee,1976). They develop highly under dryland grasses and low under wetland grasses, trees and shrubs (Soils Science Glossary, 1976).

Chernozem soils are characterized as having a dark-coloured surface (Ah, Ahe, or Ap) horizon and a B or C horizon or both with a high base saturation (Soils Science Glossary, 1976). These soils tend to be restricted in Peter Lougheed Park in Kananaskis Country, according to J.A. Williams, 1990. They are found in the Montane and Aspen Parkland portion of the park(Achuff & etc., 1994).

In the Montane Subregion, chernozemic soil development varies greatly with the topographic and climatic conditions. Black chernozems, characterized by a thick black surface horizon of mixed humic/mixed wood material (McGregor, 1984), are the most common of these soils and are found in lower slope and valley bottom positions with south and southwest aspects (McGregor, 1984). Black chernozems contain no oxidized layer which indicates drier conditions which is opposite to Orthic Black chernozems found in the Aspen Parkland area (McGregor, 1984). These soils are characterized by a slightly reddish subsurface horizon that indicates iron has oxidized in that horizon (McGregor, 1984).

Also in the Aspen Parkland area, black and dark brown chernozems are common under grassland vegetation , such as rough fescue and/or western porcupine grasses (Achuff, 1994). The dark brown chernozems are found under woodland vegetation on sandy parent materials (Achuff, 1994). They can also occur on steeper slopes (10-30%) and have a slightly reddish subsurface horizon (J.A. Williams, 1990).

 

 

Black Chernozem

 

Brown Chernozem

 

Dark Brown Chernozem

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