The Characterization Of Human Modified Soils In The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (poster)

POUYAT, R.V., I.D. Yesilonis, C. Robinette and J. Brewer

The Soil Taxonomy and other soil classification systems organize soil variability into useful groupings that are identifiable by field investigation and documented in soil survey activities to promote effective resource management and technology transfer. Processes of soil formation that are altered by human activity are considered to be deviations from the normal, and as a consequence, changes in soil characteristics resulting from human intervention are not applicable to the current Soil Taxonomy. To incorporate human modifications of soil in Soil Taxonomy, we propose that human activities should be considered as a factor of soil formation. Specifically, we present a conceptual model of soil genesis that incorporates humans as a soil forming factor and details the "anthroposequence," which we suggest may be applied to studying soil systems along urban-rural land use gradients. We are applying this concept to investigate human modifications of soil and to conduct a high resolution soil survey of the Baltimore City metropolitan area. Specifically, we 1) describe the characterization of soils in an urbanized watershed (Gwynns Falls, Maryland) being monitored and investigated in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES); 2) identify key soil properties (chemical, physical, biological) and their spatial distribution and relationship with other factors such as, socio-economic and hydrologic factors, being characterized for the watershed; 3) propose various soil properties as descriptors and diagnostic properties for the development of a disturbed soil classification system; and 4) describe a high resolution field survey and associated map unit composition for the watershed.