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Genesis, classification and human modification of peat and mineral-organic soils, Hula Valley, Israel

Author(s): M.I. Litaor | O. Reichmann | M. Shenker

Journal: Mires and Peat
ISSN 1819-754X

Volume: 9;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: drainage | peatland | pedology | soil survey | wetland

In the last six decades, the pedosphere of the Hula Valley, Israel, has been subjected to major management changes that have led to intense soil alterations. From a thriving East Mediterranean wetland complex characterised by peat and mineral-organic soils, it was converted in the 1950s to intensively cultivated farmland. After four decades of cultivation with numerous agro-technical difficulties and environmental problems, the least fertile soils were re-flooded to form a small lake called Agmon. Construction of Lake Agmon raised the water table in the surrounding soils, creating new hydrogeochemical conditions that changed the pH, redox potential, adsorption-desorption characteristics, rate of organic matter oxidation and soil structure. In this article, we review the history of pedological research in this area, discuss the various soil classification schemes devised at different times before and after drainage, and present a case against an attempt to produce new soil maps because frequent land-use changes and continuous internal soil processes make them rapidly inaccurate. For future land use planning and management, we recommend adapting a probability-based approach that models the values of continuous soil attributes, produces probability maps and quantifies the acceptance of uncertainty.

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