Suolo - 2003 - A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemon

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Suolo - 2003 - A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemon

European Summer School on Soil Survey

EUROPEAN SUMMER SCHOOL

ON SOIL SURVEY

A Field Guide to the

Soil-landscapes of the

Piemonte eastern plain

Istituto per le Piante da Legno

e l’Ambiente

(I.P.L.A. S.p.A., Torino)

Settore Suolo

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE

2003

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain EUR 20829 EN


European Summer School on Soil Survey

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

This document may be cited as follows:

F Fabio Petrella

Petrella, F., Piazzi, M., Martalò, P., Roberto, P., Giannetti, F., Alliani, N., Ancarani, V., Nicoli, G.,

Salandin, R. & Filippi, N. (2003). A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain.

European Soil Bureau Research Report No.14, EUR 20829 EN, 33pp. Office for Official Publications of the

European Communities, Luxembourg.

The following Soil Staff technicians have collaborated:

Fabio Petrella Soil survey, classification and preparation of text. Field trip organisation

Mauro Piazzi Technical Coordinator

Paolo Martalò Field organisation

Paolo Roberto Field organisation

Fabio Giannetti Satellite image interpretation

Nicoletta Alliani Laboratory analysis

Vanessa Ancarani Laboratory analysis

Giuseppina Nicoli Cartographic design

Roberto Salandin General coordination. Interpretation of Soil Resources

Nicola Filippi – Detached National Expert, JRC Ispra

COVER PICTURE

SATELLITE IMAGE OF THE EASTERN PIEMONTE PLAIN, ITALY

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

EUROPEAN SUMMER SCHOOL

ON SOIL SURVEY

A Field Guide to the

Soil-landscapes of the

Piemonte eastern plain

Istituto per le Piante da Legno

e l’Ambiente

(I.P.L.A. S.p.A., Torino)

Settore Suolo

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Mission of the JRC

The mission of the Institute of Environment and Sustainability is to provide scientific and technical support

to EU strategies for the protection of the environment and sustainable development. Employing an

integrated approach to the investigation of air, water and soil contaminants, its goals are sustainable

management of water resources, protection and maintenance of drinking waters, good functioning of

aquatic ecosystems and good ecological quality of surface waters.

Legal Notice

Neither the European Commission nor any person

acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for

the use, which might be made of the following information.

A great deal of additional information on the

European Union is available on the Internet.

It can be accessed through the Europa server

(http://europa.eu.int)

EUR 20829 EN

© European Communities, 2003

Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

Printed in Italy

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Table of contents

1 The soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain ................................................1

2 Geological and geomorphological characteristics .................................................5

3 Land cover.................................................................................................................7

4 STOP 1: The River Sesia Northern Plain.............................................................13

4.1 The Landscape...................................................................................................13

4.2 Soils in general ..................................................................................................14

4.3 Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection .............................................15

4.4 The representative soil profile...........................................................................15

4.5 Profile of Stop 1 ................................................................................................16

5 STOP 2: The River Sesia Southern Plain.............................................................18

5.1 The Landscape...................................................................................................18

5.2 Soils in general ..................................................................................................18

5.3 Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection .............................................19

5.4 The representative soil profile...........................................................................19

5.5 Profile of Stop 2 ................................................................................................20

6 STOP 3: The Old Terraces (Novara hills)............................................................22

6.1 The Landscape...................................................................................................22

6.2 Soils in general ..................................................................................................24

6.3 Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection .............................................25

6.4 The representative soil profile...........................................................................26

6.5 Profile of Stop 3 ................................................................................................27

7 The physical and chemical analysis ......................................................................32

8 References ...............................................................................................................32

European Soil Bureau Research Reports.............................................................34

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


TESTO BIANCO Testo bianco

European Summer School on Soil Survey

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

1 The soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain

The area (Figures 1 and 2) is very representative of the Piemonte landscape features, in

particular of the complex morphologies, typical of the valleys exits, where old terraces

and actual plains cross, forming characteristic physiographic patterns.

Pedogenetic factors pose interesting problems of soil interpretation, with high spatial

variability in a relative small area.

Within few kilometres, an west-east chrono-toposequence crosses the area from the Sesia

bed to Novara ‘hills’, built on, across the geological eras, the oldest fluvioglacial deposits

as far as the most recent Sesia alluvium.

Also the soil cover reflects this variability, offering a good alternation of natural wood

landscapes, harmoniously merged into the agricultural field patterns of rice-growing and

vineyards.

These are the reasons why the Soil Staff of the Forestry and Environment Institute

(IPLAspa, Turin) has chosen this area a study window for the realisation of the Piemonte

soil map in a scale1:250,000, on the behalf of the regional administration, in the national

framework of the Italian soil map at the same scale.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 1


1 Stop 1:

å

Sesia Plain

Sizzano area

2

å

Stop 2:

Sesia Plain

Briona area

3 Stop 3:

å

Old Terraces

Barengo area

å

1

3

å

2

å

The Topographic Map used for

the Carthography is derived from the

"Atlante Stradale d'Italia" (1:200.000 Scale)

published by Touring Club Italiano.

Figure 1. Geographic location of the field trip and study sites


Lago Lago

Lago

Maggiore Maggiore

d`Orta

Ispra

SESIA

( Cusio Cusio )

( Verbano )

TICINO

SESIA

BIELLA

1

å

3

å

2

å

CANALE CAVOUR

CERVO

SESIA

L. di Viverone

NOVARA

ELVO

Figure 2. Study window representation by remote sensing data

VERCELLI

CANALE CAVOUR

SESIA


European Summer School on Soil Survey

4

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

2 Geological and geomorphological characteristics

This is a high plain area, characterised by strips of old terraces, residuals of the great

cones made by fluvial-glacial material formed at the mouth of the Alpine valleys, during

the Quaternary cold periods.

The material of the highest terrace is attributable to the fluvial-glacial Mindel and is

composed by very altered coarse gravelly alluvial. The intermediate terrace is constituted

by more recent pebbly and gravelly material that is attributable to Riss and Wurm. The

actual level of the plain is attributable only to Wurm and is characterised by coarse

material, which becomes finer in proportion with the distance from the valleys mouth into

the plain (Figure 3).

Figure 3. The image, derived from the Terrain Digital Model, shows the relief

characteristics of the study area.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 5


European Summer School on Soil Survey

6

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

3 Land cover

In Figure 4 it is possible to see the general characteristics of the area, as it appears on the

image from LANDSAT 5 the 8 th of August 1998. This is represented so that the

wavelength of the Near Infrared (NIR) is brought to the Red Channel, that of the Short

Wavelength Infrared to the Green Channel, and the Visible Red to the Blue Channel. By

the combination of these wavelengths it is possible to select the areas with vegetation

represented by brown and brown-reddish (wood and shrubs) or orange and red (sown and

grass field).

In the image the presence of different landscape patterns it is clearly visible, from the

brown-greenish large bands of woods and shrubs along the old terraces, to the blue of the

urbanised areas, expanded continuously along the road axis, and the pink-red of the rice

fields in the southern area.

Figure 4. Image from LANDSAT 5 (08/08/98)

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 7


Luvisols (WRB, 1998)

Alfisols (USDA, 1998)

A1

A2

A4

Highly developed soils, loamy or finer textures, low permeable,

with a strongly structured reddish-brown argillic horizon, tongues

or fragipans. They are mainly located on old terraces.

(WRB, 1998: Profondi-Albic Luvisols, Albic Luvisols;

USDA, 1998: Typic Paleudalfs, Fragic Paleudalfs).

Highly developed soils, loamy or finer textures, low permeable,

with a strongly structured greyish-brown argillic horizon, tongues

or fragipans. They are mainly located on old terraces.

(WRB, 1998: Albi-Epigleyic Luvisols;

USDA, 1998: Typic Fragiaqualfs, Fragic Epiaqualfs).

Hydromorphic, poorly drained, developed soils with an argillic

horizon, scarcely recognisable because of the greyish colour of

reduced iron depletions.

(WRB, 1998: Epigleyic Luvisols; USDA, 1998: Typic Epiaqualfs).

Cambisols (WRB, 1998)

Inceptisols (USDA, 1998)

B1

B3

Fluvisols (WRB, 1998)

Entisols (USDA, 1998)

C1

Deep, well drained, scarcely developed soils, with a moderately

structured altered horizon. Rooting and workability are without

limitations.

(WRB, 1998: Dystri-Fluvic Cambisols, Dystric Cambisols;

USDA, 1998: Fluventic Humic Dystrochrepts, Fluventic

Dystrochrepts).

Gravelly, scarcely altered soils, with a weakly structured altered

horizon. Gravels, within 50 cm, limit rooting and workability.

(WRB, 1998: Dystri-Episkeletic Cambisols, Episkeleti-Fluvic

Cambisols;

USDA, 1998: Lithic Humic Dystrochrepts, Lithic Dystrochrepts).

Deep, well drained, not developed alluvial soils, without altered

horizon. No limits of rooting and workability.

(WRB, 1998: Dystric Fluvisols, Dystri-Humic Fluvisols;

USDA, 1998: Umbric Udifluvents, Typic Udifluvents).

Deep, well drained, not developed alluvial soils, without altered

C3

horizon. Gravels, within 50 cm, limit rooting and workability.

(WRB, 1998: Episkeleti-Humic Fluvisols, Episkeletic Fluvisols;

USDA, 1998: Umbric Udifluvents, Typic Udifluvents).


Stop 1: Sesia Plain - Humi-Fluvic Cambisol (Hyperdystric)

2

å Stop 2: Sesia Plain - Hyperdystri-Stagnic Cambisol


Stop 3: Old Terraces - Profondi-Albic Luvisol

Figure 5. Legend of Soil Map 1:250.000 scale


o

d

C1

B6

B6

Forno

RR

RR B6

C1

Gravellona Toce

VERBANIA

Casale Corte Cerro

B6

C6

M

Carcoforo C6

B6

Massiola

B6

Rimella

Valstrona B6

astallone

Loreglia

Baveno

B6 C6

A8

Isola Bella

C6

Fobello

Rima S.Giuseppe

B6

C6

Germagno

Cervatto

IL MOTTARONE B6

B6

C6

Stresa

Omegna C6

Quarna sopra Agrano

C6

A8

B6 Quarna sotto

Gignese

C6

Rimasco P.zo TRACCIORA

Sabbia

Brovello Carpugnino

A8

A8

RR

Nonio

Cravagliana

Camasco

B6

Belgirate

B6

A8

bia

Rossa

Vocca

Cesara

A8 B6

B6

B6

C6

Boccioleto

Lesa

Armeno

Mollia

Sovazza

B6

C6

Balmuccia

Varallo B6

Pettenasco

Massino Visconti

Arola

B6

Nebbiuno

B6 Campertogno

B6 Civiasco

Pellino

Miasino

Scopa

BEC D`OVAGA B6

Pella B6 Orta S.Giulio

A8

B6

A8

Pisano

C3

Mad.na del Sasso

A8

A8Ameno

B6 Colazza B6

6

A8 C3

GhevioMeina

Scopello

B6 B6

Rassa Piode Pila

S.Maurizio d'Opaglio

B6

B6

C6

Breia

Quarona

Bolzano N.se

A1 Pogno

Invorio

Arona

Cellio

Oleggio Castello

A8

A1 Gozzano Paruzzaro C3

M.CAMPARIENT

Soriso

B6

A1

Briga N.se

Il L.Ne

Valduggia

A8

B6

A1

Gargallo

Dormelletto B6

I BO

BORGOSESIA

Postua

B3

A8

B6

B6

C1

M.FENERA

R

B6

A1

A1

Comignago

Gattico C3 Castelletto C3 so

C6

Ailoche Guardabosone C6

B6

C6

Vergano N.se

Borgomanero B1

Caprile

Maggiora

Veruno

Coggiola

Serravalle Sesia

B6

A1

Borgo Ticino

Crevacuore

a

B6

C3

B3

Grignasco

A1

Portula Pray

A8 Boca

Piane

Cureggio

Agrate ConturbiaB1

Trivero A8

Sesia

ampiglia Cervo

B3

A1

Bogogno

6B6

Quittengo

A8

Cavallirio

Varallo Pomb C 3

B6

Sostegno

Divignano

lo Cervo

Camandona Mosso S.Maria

C6

A1

Prato Sesia

Cressa

Veglio Pistolesa

B3

Pombia

Valle Mosso

A8 Soprana

Fontaneto d'Agogna

Callabiana

Romagnano Sesia

B1

Tavigliano

Mezzana Curino

Suno

Marano Tici

Sagliano M.ca Selve Marcone

Mortigliengo

Lozzolo

A1

Miagliano A1 Pettinengo Strona

Villa del Bosco

C3

Andorno Micca Valle S.Nicolao Casapinta

A8

Gattinara

Mezzomerico

A8

A1

Roasio

C3

Crosa

Cavaglio d'Agogna

Bioglio Vallanzengo

Mombello Brusnengo

Cavaglietto

Tollegno Zumaglia

Lessona Masserano

Oleggio

Pralungo Ternengo

Piatto

A8

Vaprio d'AgognaB1

A8

Ghemme

A1

A1 A8

B1

ollone C3

Ronco B.se Quaregna

A1 A1

BIELLA Valdengo Cossato

1 Sizzano

å

B1 Barengo

Momo

Occhieppo Sup.

Cerreto Castello A1

3

o

Vigliano B.se

å

Bellinzago N

A1

B3

Occhieppo Inf.

A2

B1

Lenta

B1 Fara N.se

Alzate

Peschiere

B1

burzano

Gaglianico

Briona

B3 Ponderano

Rovasenda

onticello

Candelo

Carpignano Sesia2

B3

Castellengo

Ghislarengo å

Sologno

Sandigliano

A2

B3

Mongrando

A1

A1

Castelletto Cervo

Sillavengo

Benna

Caltignaga

Borriana

A1

C3

Castellazzo N.se

B2 B3

B2

B2 Verrone

Mottalciata

B1 S.Giacomo V.se

Cam

biena

Massazza

Arborio Landiona

C3 C3

A2

Zanga

Gifflenga

Mandello Vitta

C1

A4

Nibbia

Villanova B.se

B1

Casaleggio Novara

6

Buronzo

Vicolungo

Cerrione

Magnano

Vigellio

C.se

A8

Balocco

Recetto

B1

Zimone

Greggio

Biandrate

Piverone

Arro

S.Pietro Mosezzo

B6Salussola

B1

B3

L. di Bertignano

Villarboit

S.Nazzaro C1 Sesia

B1

D6

Casalbeltrame

Viverone Dorzano

Albano V.se

NOVARA

F1 Roppolo

A1

Formigliana

Torrione Quartara

L. di Viverone

A1

imo Rottaro F1

Cavaglià

Carisio B1

B2 Ponzana

F1

Lumellogno

Casanova Elvo Oldenico

A8

Collobiano

Casalvolone

A1 A3

ano C.se B6

Cameriano

DEL MONTE

B2

B1

Villata

B2

Gar

B6 C1

B2

A3 Quinto V.se

Monticello

A5

A4

C1

omasino Alice Castello

B2

C1

Santhià

Olcenengo

Nibbiola

B2

B1

Caresanablot

A3

B6

Borgo d'Ale

S.Germano V.se

Casalino

Granozzo con Monticello A3

Borgo Vercelli

Maglione

A5

Maglione

B3

Tronzano V.se

Capriasco

vello

A3 Figure 6. Study window in the Piemonte Soil Map 1:250.000 scale

A5

B1

B2

llo

Crova

Salasco

N.11 VERCELLI

A3

Vinzaglio C2

B1

Bianzè

Sali V.se

C1

Cigliano

Bo

B1 Larizzate Cappuccini

A3

Venaria

Casino Castellazzo

Lignana

Livorno Ferraris

C.na Molinetto

Prarolo

Nonai

gna

gna

iolana

igliano igliano

d i

d i

Se

O rop a

iolana

Se

N.144

Iv rea

rm

en

en

Sorba

Dolca

Sessera

Olobbia

N.593

z a

z a

SE SIA

Egua

Elvo

Elvo

S

n n a a

o tr

N.143

Il Navilotto

Serm e

Serm e

N.232

A 21

nz a

Barbina

Chiebbia

Chiebbia

N.143

N.11

Comba di Valmala

Comba di Valmala

Confienzo

A 4

Canale Depretis

N.299

Croso Gavala

Cerv o

a

Stron

Strona

N.232

CANALE CAVOUR

di Postu a

D u

N.142

Ostola

g

Mastallone

Mastallone

gi a

gi a

Trio gna

Sabbiola

Elvo

G u arab ione

la

B aa gnoo

S.Giorgio

P asc one

Sesse ra

N.230

R

R

gia

g

A 26/4

tron tron

S

del

a

Rovasenda

Rovasenda

rch ese

a M

m

O di

Rialone

Cervo

S tron

Rovasenda

e gn a

e gn a

S tron

Fiumetta

Valduggia

a di di

Colompasso

Roggia

M archiazza

lagna

o

M

SESIA

d el

d el

o

Roccia

arch archeseese

M

A 4

Naviglio di Ivrea

N.455

N.594

C e

o o

Lag

`O rta

`O rta

SE SIA

rv o

S

Stron

Stron

( Cusio Cusio )

iz zone

di

a

Pescone

S S trona trona

egna

Om

Bonda

di Bri ona

N.299

Ondella

Ondella

Agogn a

Agogn a

N.31

S

N.33

Rio della Valle

Selva

Airola

Tessera

izzo ne

izzo ne

Rio della Valle

A 26

Airola

a

Spess

Erno

Agogna

a

Vever

Lirone

Rese

Ern o

A CAN LE CAVOUR

SESIA

Agogna

N.142

A 26

Ern o

( Verbano )

N.229

Lago Lago

Terdoppio Novarese

Agogna

N.11

M aggiore

M aggiore

N.33

Agamo

N.299

Rito

Rito

Agogna

A 26/8

N.32

T

Canale

IC

Arbogna

INO

Regi

Regi

CANALE

N.211


European Summer School on Soil Survey

10

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


250

A SCALA 1:50.000 SECONDO LA CARTA TECNICA

SOIL MAP 1:250.000

Soil-landscapes study window

LOCALIZZAZIONE IN AMBITO REGIONALE DEL FOGLIO

019 020

035 036

051 052 # 053

VB

071 072 073 074

091 092 BI 093 094

#

# 095

NO

112 113 114 115 116 NO 117

152 #

#

132

VC

133 134 135 136 137 138

TO

153 154 155 156 157 158 159

171 172 173 174

AT AL

175 # 176#

177 178

189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196

207 208 209 CN 210 211 212 213 214

224 225

#

226 227 228

242 243 244 245

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT

NOVARA PLAIN

1:50.000 SCALE

U1036

WRB, 1998: Profondi-Albic Luvisols, Albic Luvisols;

USDA, 1998: Typic Paleudalfs, Fragic Paleudalfs.

U1035 WRB, 1998: Dystric Fluvisols, Dystri-Humic Fluvisols,

Episkeleti-Fluvic Cambisols, Dystri-Fluvic Cambisols;

USDA, 1998: Umbric Udifluvents, Typic Udifluvents.

S.Nicolo'

U1040

WRB, 1998: Dystri-Fluvic Cambisols, Dystric Cambisols,

Dystri-Episkeletic Cambisols, Episkeleti-Fluvic Cambisols;

USDA, 1998: Fluventic Humic Dystrochrepts,

Fluventic Dystrochrepts.

# 1 Stop 1: Sesia Plain - Humi-Fluvic Cambisol

(Hyperdystric)

Stop 2: Sesia Plain - Hyperdystri-Stagnic Cambisol

# 2 Stop 3: Old Terraces - Profondi-Albic Luvisol

Note:

La legenda costituisce un'elaborazione sintetica della legenda standard della

CARTA DEI SUOLI a scala 1:50.000, a cui si rimanda per la completa definizione delle

classi dei Suoli.

Le sigle di colore rosso presenti in carta ( U1029 ) identificano le Unità Cartografiche di Suolo.

La fonte dei dati per il fondo topografico è la CTRN - Servizio Cartografico Regione Piemonte.

0

V I G N O L E

Rio

V A L G I O L O

U1036

C.to Barbavara Mandria

C.na Aurora

V A L L E R A C E

250

250

250

Fornace

Ghemme

250

StradaperFara

della

D I G H E M M E

B O S C O

250

250250

C.lo

Fornace

250

Torrente

250

Ghemme

S.Sebastiano (rov.e)

Santuario di Rado

250

250

B A R A G G I O N E

Valle

B A R A G G I A

Strona

C.na Carita'

C.to Furno

250

B O S C O D I

250

Cotonif.o Crespi

R.gia

B O S C O D E L R E

S.Clemente

B A R A G G I O N E

S I Z Z A N O

250

Mora

Lazzaretto

Catanea C.na

Fosso

Marchese

250

S.Giorgio (Rov.e)

S.Paolo Podere

250

del

250

del

Re

250

250

250

S.Antonio

A26

FIUME

Roggia

250

250

U1036

250

250

S.Bartolomeo

250

250

250

250

Rog.a

250

250

250

l'Assunta

Torrente

Sizzano

S.Giuseppe

#

Oriale

F.so della Valle Sorca

250

P I A N O N E

R O C C O L O

P A L A N C H I N A

Cantorina

Gattinara

250

la Mola

Colombarolo C.na

250

250

250

250250

Roggia

Font.na Marcia

S.S.

Selvabella C.na

F.so

250

1

Santhia

#

3

250

250

250

N O C C H E

Cascinetto

B O S C O P I A N E

B O S C O

Marchesa C.to della

R.gia Mora

C.na Nuova

C.na Colombara

Cascinetta

Tre C.na Confini

C.na Ferrera

la

(N.594)

C.lo

U1041

250

250

250

250

Colombera d'Anselmin

250

U1037 U1036

U1042

SESIA

Molinara

250

U1036

250

250

Campasso C.na

F.S.

250

250

250

250

V E C C H I O

Remme

250

250

250

C.lo

Torrente

del C.na Bosco

S.Giulio

B A R A G G I A D I L

250

250

250

U1035

U1038

250

Riseria Negri

Ist.o S.Gerolamo

Novarese Fara

Cavetto

V E R S O R E L L A

S.Eugenio

la Pieve

C.na delle Monache

V A L

C E R E S O L E

VALLE DEI RONCATI

Strona

200 200

F.so

Noca

Cast.o Miglio

C.na Stoppani

Trivulzio

Comunita' C.na

200

200

200

S.Maria

Cantina Sociale

RONCATI

Camorina

Rog.a

Cavetto Trioulzio

Modello

Lenta

Campagna Mad.na di

U1029 U1030 C.to del Medico

U1031 U1032 U1034

il Riale

200

dell'Avvocato

Roggia

200

VALLEDEI

Strona T.

Roggia

Bonino

200

U1036

Mad.na dei Campi

Caccetta

Cavo

Rio

C.del Guardiacaccia

Serb.i

C.na del Giardino

Rio

C.na Marchiazza

Mora

Briona

Rog.a

Cascinetta

C.na Dardanona

C.na Grande

#

2

Cavo

Font.naConte Trivulzio

Cavallero

C.na Mazzoni

Mad.na delle Grazie

Carpignano Sesia

SESIA

Pista Ficusello

Piumerro

Orcorio

Torrente

Figure 7. Soil Map 1:250.000

200

Dondoglio

C.na delle Monache

C.na Belvedere

C.na Salera

Ladro

Cavo

Cavo

C.Cantu'

S.Rocco

Carpignano Sesia

S.Agata

FIUME

Piccolo

NUOVA

BARAGGIA

Bissone

Marchiazza

U1040

Cantorina

Cavo

Ladro

Paltana

S.Apollinare

200

U1033

Mad.na dell'Orio

Cascinetta

Prati

C.na Gallinetta

Cavo

Imp.to ghiaia estrazione e sabbia

Ghislarengo

Cavo dei

Cavo

C.to della Briglia

U1043

C.na Regina

C.na Goretta

C.na Gorettina

C.na Usellina

C.na Bianca

U1039

Ladro

C.na Massima

Comune

C.na Bellaria

C.na Dolcenea

C.na Ronchetto

C.na Cravera

-di sopra

C.na Ronchi-

-di sotto

Molinara

Sillavengo

Roggia

Faisina

Rog.a

Dondoglio

U1043

C.na Cappelletti

C.na Fizzotti

C.na Collobie

C.na Ligorina

S.Germano

S.Graio

C.ne Gianotti

Cavo

Castellazzo Novarese

Cavo

Font.na

Molinara

Busca

C.na dei Confini

C.na Moranza C.na Livelli C.na S.Giacomo

C.na Tacita

C.na Baraggiola

C.na S.Antonio

S.Rocco

Camodea S.Maria di

dell'Ospedale

C.na Biola

Font.na

Farlenga

Camannone

C.na Galoppa C.na Valtoppo

Roggia

Roggia

R. Orcorio

C.na S.Felice

Grande

C.na Flecchia

C.na Gagliarda

Gagliarda

Biraga

Rog.a

Pennino C.na Baraggione

Morina Font.na

SESIA

la

C.na del Cervo

Boggione

Viogna

Rog.a

Cavo

C.Sciarea di sopra

C.na Cerro

Colombano

Parucca

DI

C.na Valtoppina

la Casera

S.Lorenzo

200

FIUME

BAREGGIASOPRA

C.na C.na Taverna Speranza

C.na Eurosia

C.Sciarea di sotto

Roggia

Torrente

C.na Mezzano

Font.na Cavazzola

Arborio

Landiona

Castagnea

C.na Vittona

C.na Belvedere

C.Bossolina

Marchiazza

1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 m

1500 m

september 2002


European Summer School on Soil Survey

12

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

4 STOP 1: The River Sesia Northern Plain

4.1 The Landscape

The area is almost triangular, with vertices into the urban centres of Ghemme, Briona and

Carpignano Sesia. It has the river Sesia as the western limit and the old terrace slope as

the eastern limit. The soils are developed from recent deposits (Wurm) of the river Sesia,

constituted by sands and gravels.

Agricultural uses in this area are limited by climatic and pedological characteristics.

The presence of cold winds from the Sesia high valley reduces the possibilities of maize

production to late cultivars and stops rice-growing. High permeability and diffuse

presence of gravel and coarse sands also in the profile head reduce available water

capacities and often workability is conditioned. Intensive cereal production and also

forage yields are not profitable.

Mixed woodland is diffuse, both along the riverbanks and in the middle of the plain

(Versorella woods), where locust-trees are dominant but, more sporadically, oak, chestnut

and maple are also present. Poplar cultivation is very common, especially on the most

recent alluvial deposits. Orchards and vineyards, witness of an ancient frame of rural

arrangements, are scattered all over the landscape.

The weak altimetrical gradient has a north-south direction, due to the Sesia alluvial cone.

The most characteristic landscape element is the absence of a homogeneous rural pattern

and, consequently, a discontinuity in the field arrangements and in the pedo-landscape

units. The highway traces this appearance, cutting the plain into two parts.

Another negative factor is the chaotic urbanisation of the main urban centres, especially

Carpignano Sesia, but also, in general, the diffuse presence of industrial settlements

scattered on the land.

Also relevant is the network of canals drawing water from Sesia River for irrigation, even

where these systems are not completely in working order, because of lack of maintenance.

A large band of locust-tree woods covers the eastern artificial bank of the Sesia River;

these trees grow vigorously on fine sands, included among coarser deposits, and are

supplied by shallow groundwater. This area, called Scimbla park, extends from Ghemme

to Carpignano. It constitutes an important landscape that is now protected.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 13


European Summer School on Soil Survey

4.2 General description of the soils

Along the Sesia river, under the most recent alluvia, Humic Fluvisols, Skeletic Fluvisols

and Skeleti-Humic Fluvisols (WRB, 1998) are present. Under woodland it is also possible

to find Skeleti-Umbric Fluvisols (WRB, 1998).

In the part of the plain more distant from the river, better developed soils are present: the

Fluvic Cambisol (WRB, 1998), and, in some gravelly areas, the Skeleti-Fluvic Cambisol

(WRB, 1998). Some other soils are characterised by a dark epipedon, rich in organic

matter, so that the proposed classification can be Humi-Fluvic Cambisol according to

‘Lecture Notes on the Major Soils of the World’ (FAO, World Soil Resources Report # 94,

2001).

According to the U.S. Soil Taxonomy the soils are: Typic Udifluvent, coarse-loamy,

mixed, non-acid, mesic (USDA, 1998), with umbric, gravelly and sandy phases; and

Fluventic Dystrudept, coarse-loamy, mixed, nonacid, mesic with humic, gravelly and

sandy phases (USDA, 1998).

The main soil characteristics are:

• sandy texture

• contact with a gravelly substratum in average within 1 meter

• acidification of topsoil with some weak illuviation of Fe-organic complex, in case

of humic epipedon, such as a B layer can be definied

• presence of an intermittent gravel layer of few centimetres among the sandy

horizons

These elements are all limiting factors for agriculture, which is often restricted to poplar

cultivation, especially on the most recent alluvium. At one time, woods would have

covered all the land and it possible to deduct from this the presence of an intermittent

organic layer of few centimetres thickness, which sometimes appears buried by some

decimetres of sandy deposits from the very recent Sesia floods.

14

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Today powerful agricultural machines can plough without too many difficulties into

gravelly topsoils, so that it is possible to exploit the fertility residues of these humic

layers, which also contribute to a higher available water capacity.

In any case the percentages of coarse particles in the texture fine fraction are very high, so

the permeability remains very high and AWC low: these factors are greatly limiting the

Land Capability of this area.

4.3 Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection

With regard to the official Communication of the Commission of the European

Communities ‘Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection’ (Brussels, 16.4.2002

COM(2002) 179 final), it is now appropriate to calculate the total area of the kinds of soil

(see IPLA Soil Maps) that have been lost forever, in the last 40-50 years, because of the

urban settlements of Romagnano Sesia, Gattinara, Ghemme, Carpignano Sesia, Fara and

Sizzano.

This urbanisation has not taken account of the productivity of these soils, that have been

assessed as class II according to a methodology similar to the USDA Land Capability

Classification.

In spite of good water availability, these soils show a different distribution of subsurface

gravels through the irregular growth of maize stems, especially where ancient river

courses cross the fields. This means that their potential capacity to protect groundwater

from pollution is low or very low. Because of superficial erosion, due to the area

morphology (alluvial cone), there should be a reduction in the cultivation of crops that

leave the soil bare for many months thus exposing it to the erosive effects of heavy rains.

The importance at this time of not reducing organic matter in this type of soil, and instead

maintaining or increasing it, can be solved by taking into consideration that soil carbon

content depends on the amount of erosion taking place and, indirectly, on cropping

systems that do not leave the ground bare after harvesting, as has been the case in many

of our soils during the past 30-40 years. This trend is more and more significant since the

EC Directives have reduced cattle breeding and consequently the possibility to practise

spreading of organic manures.

According to these views, this kind of soil could be better utilised if reconverted to

grassland: a choice that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions (according to Kyoto

protocol) and add value by recreating ancient landscapes.

4.4 The representative soil profile

The representative soil profile comprises the following horizon sequence: Ap-Bw-C1-C2

The topsoil is a brown sandy-loam in texture with evidence of a significant amount of

organic matter, probably due to woodland cover in the recent past. Gravel content in the

upper horizon is such that it is not a limitation for mechanised agriculture, is superficial

(30 cm) in any case.

In the underlying layer, gravel content is also low, texture is still sandy-loam, but the

Munsell colour is olive-brown, the sign of progressive impoverishment of organic matter.

Rooting is still good. The weak blocky structure and the brown colour are signs of a Bw

horizon.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 15


European Summer School on Soil Survey

The first C horizon starts where some hydromorphic features are visible (mottling and Fe-

Mn masses), maybe due to waterlogging in the past. In the second C horizon there is an

high percentage of coarse sand, so that it can be called 2C, even if the discontinuity is not

clear, and most probably being grey-coloured it is the oldest deposit of Sesia River.

4.5 Profile of Stop 1

Profile code: PIEM0402

Classifications:

Humi-Fluvic Cambisol (Hyperdystric) (WRB; 1998; ‘Lecture Notes on the Major

Soils of The World’, FAO, World Soil Resources Report # 94, 2001)

Fluventic Dystrudept, coarse-loamy, mixed, nonacid, mesic (USDA, 1998),

Horizon designations: Ap-Bw- C-2C

Diagnostic horizons: Ochric, Cambic, Fluvic

Location: Fontana Marcia (Sizzano, NO)

Photograph taken in a profile 50 m away from the described and analysed soil

Physiography: middle of a fluvial plain

Elevation: 228 m slm

Drainage: well drained

Groundwater: not far from the surface

Land Use: soya

Parent Material: fluvio-glacial Wurm

Ap: 0 to 30 cm; moist; brown (10YR4/3); sandy-loam; 3 percent medium and coarse

pebbles; cloddy structure; few fine macropores; few fine roots; firm; very weakly

cemented; non-sticky; slightly plastic; noncalcareous; abrupt linear boundary.

Bw: 30 to 50 cm; moist; light olive brown (2.5Y5/4) with light olive brown (2.5Y5/3);

sandy-loam; 3 percent medium and coarse pebbles; weak medium subangular blocky

structure, common fine macropores; few fine roots; firm; very weakly cemented; nonsticky;

non-plastic; noncalcareous; clear, wavy boundary.

C1: 50 to 85 cm; moist; light yellowish brown (2.5Y6/4) with olive brown (2.5Y5/3);

faint common medium yellowish brown (10YR5/4) mottles; massive structure; medium

common macropores; few fine roots; firm; very weakly cemented; non-sticky; nonplastic;

noncalcareous; few fine Fe-Mn masses on the primary particles; gradual wavy

boundary.

C2: 85 to 130 cm; moist; grayish brown (2.5Y5/2) with light olive gray (5Y6/2); sandy;

20 percent medium and coarse pebbles; single grain structure; friable; extremely weakly

cemented; non-sticky; non-plastic; noncalcareous; unknown boundary.

16

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Photo by courtesy of Erika Micheli

Horizon Ap Bw C1 C2

Depth cm 30 20 35 45

pH in H 2 O 5,4 5,6 5,8 6,2

Gravel % 2 2 2 15

CaCO 3 % 0 0 0 0

Coarse sand % 7,2 10,9 5,5 78,2

Fine sand % 45,7 53,9 61,5 17,6

Coarse silt % 16,3 13,3 13,4 2,1

Fine silt % 23,9 16,9 14,0 0,0

Clay % 6,9 5,1 5,6 2,1

Organic carbon % 1,76 0,69 0,06 0,04

Total nitrogen % 0,17 n.d. n.d. n.d.

C/N 10,2 n.d. n.d. n.d.

Organic matter % 3,03 1,18 0,10 0,06

C.S.C. meq/100g 15,2 8,5 n.d. 4,4

Ca meq/100g 1,19 0,58 n.d. 0,26

Mg meq/100g 0,17 0,31 n.d. 0,06

K meq/100g 0,22 0,31 n.d. 0,28

Basic saturation% 10 14 n.d. 14

P available mg/Kg 65 n.d. n.d. n.d.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 17


European Summer School on Soil Survey

5 STOP 2: The River Sesia Southern Plain

5.1 The Landscape

In the southern area of the Sesia plain, the landscape is characterised by the dominance of

intensive rice-growing, which is very profitable, even if it is not located on the most

suitable soils. The northern limit of this cultivation in the area is the axis Carpignano

Sesia – Briona: beyond it, the high Sesia plain does not have favourable pedoclimatic

features.

This plain is flat, and a definitive ancient Sesia passage is almost blocked by the

arrangement of the rice chambers. On the western margin near Sesia River the traditional

landscape is characterised by poplars and a land use of maize-grass rotation, but ricechambers

have constructed as far as the riverbanks, also on the most sandy soils.

On the eastern margin near the old terraces, the passage of a stream, Strona, coming from

the narrow valleys inside the terraces, and a large canal for irrigation are the main agents

of morphological change in the area. Here it is possible to find soils with finer textures,

perhaps the sign of a more developed pedogenesis. In any case this area has the highest

rice yields and the lowest water consumption for irrigation.

5.2 General description of the soils

Most of the soils, comprising sandy-gravelly alluvia from the Sesia River, have been

significantly changed due to the construction of rice fields (chambers). The original soil

type is the Dystric Fluvisol (WRB, 1998), which has acquired redoximorphic features for

artificial gley conditions, so that it can be classified as a Dystri-Stagnic Fluvisol (WRB,

1998). In U.S. Soil Taxonomy these soils are Typic Udifluvent, sandy, mixed, nonacid,

mesic and the anthraquic and oxyaquic phases.

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A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


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A strip of less gravelly soils, from Briona to Castellazzo, has finer coarse-loamy texture,

with higher water capacities. In the profile at STOP 2 a cambic horizon in contact with

altered pebbles is recognisable. Groundwater, introduced by irrigation water for ricegrowing,

produces redoximorphic features such that the provisional classification is

Dystri-Stagnic Cambisol (WRB, 1998).

Along the Sesia valley, the most recent alluvia, Humic Fluvisols, Skeletic Fluvisols and

Skeleti-Humic Fluvisols (WRB, 1998) also occur. Under woodland cover, it is also

possible to find Skeleti-Umbric Fluvisols (WRB, 1998).

5.3 Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection

The soil profile examined, which is under poplar trees, is not much different from the

profile at STOP1 concerning the key-productive, environmental and socio-cultural

functions.

This soil has been under rice but was planted with poplar trees, probably because of its

marginality: therefore the negative effects on the original landscape and the topsoil,

typical of rice growing areas, are no longer evident. Nevertheless we should emphasise

that the submersion irrigation techniques used for rice growing require a perfect levelling

of the field by very large movements of earth material. This brings to the fore other

concerns about soil protection, for example ‘how much of this kind of soil, around this

site, is still used for rice-growing?’

The profile excavation shows the proximity of the rice-fields through a groundwater level

that is higher than the natural water table of this area. Therefore, if the rice-field water

contributes initially to increasing the groundwater level, this is an indication that to

maintain submersion of the field very large amounts of irrigation water will be needed,

because of high soil permeability.

In calculating the exact costs and energy balances, the importance of water resources now

becomes evident. Water infiltration, intensive leaching, and consequent soil fertility loss,

cause eutrification in the underlying groundwater. Moreover the pollution of deep and

surface waters by pesticides and herbicides is another serious problem that must be

considered.

Finally, by observing the soil cover, in this case a poplar-grove, it is also possible to

evaluate the Land Suitability for this cultivation. Ten years after planting, the productive

results are very modest and confirm the evaluation criteria, defined by IPLA Soil Sector

along its long experience in Piemonte, about the pedological requirements for a good

cultivation of poplar trees.

5.4 The representative soil profile

It comprises the following sequence of layers: Ap-Bw-BC-C1-C2

The topsoil is characterised by sandy-loam texture and by olive brown Munsell colour. A

low pH is probably due to acidification under aquic conditions induced by rice-growing.

The subsoil is characterised by the presence of mottles and an evidently altered B layer

with yellowish brown and brown Munsell colours and a subangular blocky structure. The

depth and quantity of hydromorphic features is very variable and depends on the net of

irrigation channels and relative groundwater.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 19


European Summer School on Soil Survey

5.5 Profile of Stop 2

Profile code: PIEM0458

Classifications:

Hyperdystri-Stagnic Cambisol (WRB; 1998)

Oxyaquic Dystrudept, coarse-loamy over sandy-skeletal, mixed, nonacid, mesic

(USDA, 1998),

Horizon designations: Ap - Bw - BC – C1 – C2.

Diagnostic horizons: Cambic, Stagnic

Location: C. S.Martino (Briona, NO)

Photograph taken in a profile 25m away from the described and analysed soil

Physiography: middle of a fluvial plain

Elevation: 190 m slm

Drainage: well drained

Groundwater: not far from the surface

Land Use: poplar

Parent Material: fluvio-glacial Wurm

Ap: 0 to 40 cm; moist; olive brown (10YR4/4); sandy-loam; 10 percent medium and

coarse pebbles; cloddy structure; few fine macropores; common fine roots; friable;

noncemented; slightly-sticky; slightly plastic; noncalcareous; clear linear boundary.

Bw: 40 to 65 cm; moist; yellowish brown (10YR5/6) with brown (10YRY5/3); sandyloam;

12 percent coarse pebbles; weak medium subangular blocky structure, common

fine macropores; few fine roots; friable; noncemented; slightly-sticky; slightly-plastic;

noncalcareous; clear, linear boundary.

BC: 65 to 100 cm; moist; light olive brown (2.5Y5/6) with yellowish brown (10YR5/8);

sandy-loam; 20 percent coarse pebbles; single grain structure; very few fine roots; very

friable, noncemented; non-sticky; non-plastic; noncalcareous; abrupt, linear boundary.

C1: 100 to 130 cm; moist; olive (5Y4/3) with olive gray (5Y4/2); faint common fine light

olive brown (2.5Y5/6) mottles; sandy; 65 percent coarse pebbles; single grain structure;

very friable, non-cemented; non-sticky; non-plastic; noncalcareous; abrupt, linear

boundary

C2: 130 to 150 cm; moist; olive gray (5Y4/2) with olive (5Y5/3); sandy; 65 percent

coarse pebbles; single grain structure; very friable, noncemented; non-sticky; non-plastic;

noncalcareous; unknown boundary.

20

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Photo by courtesy of Erika Micheli,

Horizon Ap Bw C

Depth cm 40 25 30

pH in H 2O 4,4 5,8 5,6

CaCO 3 % 0,0 0,0 0,0

Coarse sand. % 8,7 7,9 69,2

Fine sand.% 47,3 46,8 22,7

Total sand% 56,0 54,8 91,8

Coarse silt % 16,3 16,1 2,3

Fine silt % 19,5 21,0 3,2

Total silt % 35,8 37,1 5,4

Clay % 8,2 8,2 2,7

Organic carbon % 1,69 0,95 0,13

Organic matter % 2,91 1,64 0,23

Total nitrogen % 0,14 n.d. n.d.

C/N 11,9 n.d. n.d.

Cation Exchange Capacity

(meq/100g)

11,2 12,5 12,1

Exchangeable Ca (meq/100g) 1,25 4,15 3,00

Exchangeable Mg (meq/100g) 0,25 0,92 0,75

Exchangeable K (meq/100g) 0,08 0,20 0,23

Basic Saturation % 5 44 41

Available Phosphorus

(meq/100g)

22 n.d. n.d.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 21


European Summer School on Soil Survey

6 STOP 3: The Old Terraces (Novara hills)

6.1 The Landscape

The landscape of the old terraces is most typical of the area, as it represents many aspects

of the natural environment of “Baraggia” - the hornbeam and oak woods and the moor.

In the field trip area, a Mindelian terrace shows a wavy morphology, with deeply cut and

eroded surfaces, crossed by streams and small valleys, winding up through steep slopes.

In the natural landscape grape growing, the most important agricultural activity of this

area is harmoniously included.

In the recent past, vineyards almost entirely covered the terrace western slope. This is the

best site, influenced by a favourable exposure and better soil conditions, for high quality

grapes production.

Nowadays the vineyard cultivation area is decreasing both on the top and on the slope.

Significant fragmentation of land holdings is one of the economic constraints for wine

growing that needs to be on larger farms work with bigger processing plants if the activity

is to compete adequately in the markets of today.

Anyway a good potential of high quality wine production is based on the well-known

‘Ghemme’ trademark, which has been classified as a wine of ‘Denomination of

Controlled and Guaranteed Origin’.

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On the western terrace, the anthropic effects due to the agricultural activity are evident. A

network of rural roads permits entry to the vineyards spread throughout the area.

Woodlands are found especially on the slopes towards the Strona river and woody

vegetation invades the waste lands.

On the middle and eastern terraces the land use is more diverse with the typical vegetation

of Baraggia and less intensive grape growing. This is because the wine is not of highquality

because of less favourable climatic and soil conditions. In addition these areas are

further away from the farms and urban centres.

Some pine stands, planted in the seventies as fast growing tree cultivation, can also be

found.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 23


European Summer School on Soil Survey

6.2 General description of the soils

From the geological point of view, the soil parent material is attributable to the Mindel

fluvio-glacial alluvium, according to FG.43 of the Geological Map of Italy.

From the field surveys of the old terraces which are 25-40 m above the plain, a paleosoil,

with an average depth of 3 m., developed over gravelly layers comprising very altered

pebbles and cemented by sandy materials, has been identified.

The basic diagnostic characteristic is the presence of an argic (argillic) horizon (a storage

of illuvial clay) and the relative steadfastness of clay percentage with the increase of

depth.

Another diagnostic feature is the presence of an albic horizon with high colour value and

a low chroma (Munsell), the sign of a depleted layer overlaying an illuviation horizon.

The most common soil type, under woodland cover, is Profondi-Albic Luvisol (WRB,

1998); in some cases a cemented layer, classified as fragipan, is described in the soil

profile, but is not used to classify the soils as the WRB classification system does not

include it in the Luvisols qualifiers list.

According to USDA (1998), these soils are classified as Typic Paleudalfs, fine-silty,

mixed, nonacid, mesic and Fragic Paleudalfs, fine-silty, mixed, nonacid, mesic)

In the first meter, these soils are very rich in silt, so that their properties are not suitable

for agriculture. High resistance, toughness, plasticity and stickiness, and low permeability

are characteristic.

These properties create many difficulties for cultivation and unfortunately there are few

other possibilities for agricultural use. Only grape growing can be developed, and not

everywhere, as an alternative to the ‘Baraggia’ vegetation.

24

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Also vineyards, which are traditionally planted in the Piemonte clayey soils, are affected

by stagnant water in this kind of paleosoil, and therefore the quantity and quality of

grapes are reduced.

Different pedological situation are described in the slopes where gravels are brought to

the surface and paleosoils are mixed into colluvia with the coarser gravelly substratum.

Where on slopes woodlands are found, the soils develop into Cambisols (WRB, 1998),

starting from the eroded argic horizon. In the case of the vineyards, tillage and consequent

erosion continuously move the soils preventing further development from Regosols

(WRB, 1998).

In this last case, conditions for soil aeration and drainage, from which roots can benefit,

are better even if steep slopes can hinder tillage operations.

6.3 Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection

Soil conservation in the more fertile Piemonte areas has been one of the main activities of

IPLA Soil Sector, but, while the best soils on the plains have been lost to urbanisation,

this very old soil has survived almost untouched.

The morphology of the alluvial terraces and residual edges of the larger and old Padana

plain, where this soil developed, has been preserved from complete removal by river

erosion, because it is protected by its position in the landscape.

The low soil fertility has always been well known and has resulted in this area being

excluded from use for settlements and main roads. Covered by mixed deciduous woods

this land was only put into cultivation at the end of the seventeenth century.

In spite of serious soil limitations, farmers have developed wine growing according to

local needs, creating a tradition, which survives today even if it is very much reduced. In

addition, despite the soil being suitable to forage crops for feeding to beef cattle, the

present market support schemes are aimed at reducing beef production.

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European Summer School on Soil Survey

For several decades, cultivation on this land has reduced and untilled (fallow) fields are

now increasing, after some alternative solutions have failed. In particular during the

1960s, vineyards were substituted by fast growing non-native conifer plantations, when

the environmental protection culture was still latent.

It is now paradoxical to see that on the one hand the best and fertile soils, on the

underlying plain, have been continuously lost to agriculture whilst on the other hand, land

planners do not choose the less fertile and non-irrigated land, characterised by this site,

for development. The planning process has missed the opportunity of greatly reducing or

stopping the sacrifice of productive areas.

The most recent lost opportunity was the construction of the new Simplon motor-way in

the direction of the lakes and into the Ossola valley, that has taken away more productive

soils, and missed a more panoramic route. An alternative route would also have been

safer because of a lower risk of thick fog and a lower risk of groundwater contamination

in case of accidents involving the transport of toxic materials. A integrated rational

transport policy would have taken these considerations into account.

With respect to the EC guidelines for good agricultural practice for sustainable

development, the considerations above suggest a new perspective is needed for the role of

agriculture in environmental protection. Accordingly, the land where ‘STOP3-type’ soils

are dominant, which occupy >200,000 ha in Piemonte, could make a significant

contribution to the greenhouse gases reduction, by facilitating the conversion to

permanent grassland, together with valuable wood production.

6.4 The representative soil profile

It comprises the following sequence: Ap-A/E-E/B-Bt1-Bt2-Bt3-Btc1-Btc2

In the first meter, there are three silty-loam horizons, which can be attributed to two kinds

of geo-pedological processes: loess deposition and clay illuviation.

Trenching for vineyard plantation mixing soil layers, so that reading of the head profile is

now more difficult and, consequently, also sampling and interpretation.

Clay illuviation and formation of red clayey layers, rich in iron-manganese nodules, are

more evident in the bottom of the profile, which can reach 3m before contact with the

much altered gravelly substratum.

Clay illuviation has followed a multiphase path, as well shown in the micromorphological

images of the Bt layers reported after the profile description.

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European Summer School on Soil Survey

6.5 Profile of Stop 3

Profile code: PIEM0415

Classifications:

Profondi-Albic Luvisol (Cutanic) (WRB, 1998)

Typic Paleudalf, fine-silty, mixed, nonacid, mesic (USDA, 1998)

Horizon designations: Ap – A/E - EB – Bt1 – Bt2– Bt3 –Btc1 – Btc2

Diagnostic horizons: Albic, Argic

Location: Pianone (Barengo, NO)

Photograph taken in a profile 150 m away from the described and analysed soil

Physiography: top of old terrace

Elevation: 250 m slm

Drainage: somewhat poorly drained

Groundwater: deep

Land Use: vineyards

Parent Material: fluvio-glacial Mindel

Ap: 0 to 30 cm; moist; light olive brown (2,5Y 5/3); with olive brown (2,5Y 4/4); siltyloam;

cloddy structure; few fine macropores; common fine roots; friable, slightly sticky,

slightly plastic; noncalcareous; abrupt smooth boundary.

A/E: 30 to 50 cm; moist; olive yellow (2,5Y 6/6); with light yellowish brown (2,5Y 6/4);

common medium faint olive yellow (2,5Y 6/8) mottles; silty-loam; moderate coarse subangular

blocky structure; common fine macropores; common fine roots; friable; slightly

sticky; slightly plastic; noncalcareous; common medium iron-manganese concretions;

wavy clear boundary.

E/B: 50 to 90 cm; moist; light gray (2,5Y 7/2); with brownish yellow (10YR 6/6);

common medium faint brownish yellow (10YR 6/8) mottles, with brown (7,5YR 4/4);

silty-loam; strong medium angular blocky structure; common medium macropores, few

fine roots; friable; moderately sticky; moderately plastic; noncalcareous; common fine

iron-manganese concretions; few clay coats on primary particles; clear irregular

boundary.

Bt1: 90 to 160 cm; moist; olive yellow (2,5Y 6/6); brown (7,5YR 4/4) peds; common fine

diffuse yellow (10YR 7/8) mottles, with reddish yellow (7,5YR 6/8); loamy; strong

medium angular blocky structure; common fine macropores, few fine roots; firm;

moderately sticky; moderately plastic; noncalcareous; common fine iron-manganese

nodules; common clay coats on primary particles; clear wavy boundary.

Bt2: 160 to 180 cm; moist; light grey (10YR 7/2) with yellow (10YR 7/8); brown (7,5YR

4/4) peds; clay-loam; massive structure; firm; moderately sticky; moderately plastic;

noncalcareous; common fine iron-manganese nodules; few clay coats on primary

particles; gradual wavy boundary.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 27


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Bt3: 180 to 210 cm; moist; pale yellow (2,5Y 7/4); dark yellowish brown (10YR 4/6)

peds; common fine faint brownish yellow (10YR 6/8) mottles; clay-loam, moderate very

coarse prismatic columnar structure; firm; moderately sticky; moderately plastic;

noncalcareous; common fine iron-manganese nodules; common clay coats on primary

particles; gradual wavy boundary.

Btc1: 210 to 240 cm; moist; olive brown (2,5Y 4/4); with yellowish brown (10YR 5/6);

brown (7,5YR 4/4) peds; common fine faint brownish yellow (10YR 6/8) mottles, with

yellow (10YR 7/8); and strong brown (7,5YR 5/8); clay-loam; weak medium prismatic

columnar structure; firm; moderately sticky; moderately plastic; noncalcareous; many

medium iron-manganese nodules; common clay coats on primary particles; gradual wavy

boundary.

Btc2: 240 - 300 cm; moist; yellowish red (5YR 4/6); with reddish grey (5YR 5/2); reddish

brown (5YR 4/4) peds; clay-loam; strong medium angular blocky; firm; moderately

sticky; moderately plastic; noncalcareous; many coarse iron-manganese nodules; many

clay coats on primary particles; unknown boundary.

Photo by courtesy of Erika Micheli

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European Summer School on Soil Survey

Horizon Ap1 Ap2 E Bt Btc1 Btc2

Depth cm 10 20 30 40 60 20

pH in H 2 O 5,5 6,0 6,2 6,2 6,9 6,9

Gravel % 0 0 0 0 0 0

CaCO 3 % 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0

Coarse sand % 3,4 3,5 3,8 3,4 5,4 11,7

Fine sand % 23,6 21,9 24,0 22,6 20,2 22,5

Coarse silt % 25,1 28,0 25,8 24,8 16,7 12,3

Fine silt % 31,6 27,4 26,5 26,2 21,2 17,6

Clay % 16,4 19,2 19,9 23,0 36,5 35,8

Organic carbon % 1,46 0,39 0,50 0,36 0,18 0,26

Total nitrogen % 0,15 n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d.

C/N 10,0 n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d.

Organic matter % 2,50 0,67 0,86 0,63 0,32 0,45

C.S.C. meq/100g 9,77 6,54 8,23 11,67 20,46 20,20

Ca meq/100g 2,75 2,15 1,95 3,70 8,25 8,75

Mg meq/100g 0,50 0,67 1,17 3,42 6,08 5,75

K meq/100g 0,31 0,03 0,04 0,04 0,04 0,04

Basic saturation% 36 44 38 61 70 72

P available mg/Kg 38 n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d.

Micromorphologic analysis

In the following double images in polarised light (crossed Nicols) and normal light

(parallel Nicols), it is possible to see the pores (dark areas in polarised light) with the

deposition of translocated clay on the walls. The redder the skin the older it is. Many

gradations of red colour are visible, the orange and yellow skins being the most recent. In

polarised light white spots are crystal minerals.

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 29


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Thin section of a Bt layer in normal light (parallel Nicols)

Thin section of a Bt layer in polarised light (crossed Nicols)

30

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain


European Summer School on Soil Survey

Zooming into a thin section of a Bt layer under normal light (parallel Nicols)

Zooming into a thin section of a Bt layer under polarised light (crossed Nicols)

A Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain 31


European Summer School on Soil Survey

7 The physical and chemical analysis

The analytical work was carried out according to the following phases:

1. Drying of the soil samples from the field surveys and sieving at 2 and 0.5 mm.

2. The topsoils and diagnostic horizons have been analysed for:

• Particle-size analyses by pipet method

• pH by potentiometric measure in soil dilution

• calcium carbonate by gas volumetric method (Dietrich-Fruehling)

• cation exchange capacity in BaCl2 at pH 8.2

• exchangeable calcium in barium and atomic absorption

• exchangeable magnesium in barium and atomic absorption

• exchangeable potassium in barium and atomic absorption

• organic carbon by acid-dichromate digestion (Walkley-Black).

Samples of topsoils have also been analysed for total nitrogen, by Kieldhal digestion, and

absorbable phosphorus, by Olsen method. On the argillic horizons a micromorphological

analysis was performed by thin sections and chemical determination of Fe forms by

dithionite-citrate and oxalate extraction.

8 References

IPLA, 1982. The Piemonte land use capability classification, Edition l'équipe, Turin.

IPLA, 2002. Fieldbook for soil survey and description, not published.

Munsell, 1992. Soil color chart. Macbeth, New York.

Carraro F., Bortolami G., Sacchi R., 1967. Notes for the Geological Map of Italy, 1:100,000.

Fg.43, Roma.

USDA, NRCS. 1998. Keys to Soil Taxonomy. Eighth edition.

Soil Survey Division Staff USDA, 1993. Soil survey manual. U.S. Government Printing Office.

World Reference Base for Soil Resources, FAO, 1998

Official soil analytical chemical methods, National Pedological Observatory, Rome, 1994

USDA, 1972. Soil survey laboratory methods and procedures for collecting samples. Soil

Conservation Service. Washington DC.

Soil Conservation Service, 1984. Procedures for collecting soil samples and method of analysis

for soil survey. USDA.

32

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European Soil Bureau Research Reports

No.1 European Land Information Systems for Agro-environmental Monitoring. D. King, R.J.A. Jones and

A.J. Thomasson (eds). EUR 16232 EN, 284pp. (1995). Office for the Official Publications of the

European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.2 Soil Databases to support sustainable development. C. Le Bas and M. Jamagne (eds). EUR 16371

EN 149pp. (1996). Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.3 The use of pedotransfer in soil hydrology research in Europe. A. Bruand, O. Duval, H.Wösten and

A. Lilly (eds). EUR 17307 EN 211pp. (1997). Office for Official Publications of the European

Communities, Luxembourg.

No.4 Land Information Systems: Developments for planning the sustainable use of land resources. H.J.

Heineke, W. Eckelmann, A.J. Thomasson, R.J.A. Jones, L. Montanarella and B. Buckley (eds). EUR

17729 EN 546pp. (1998). Office for Official Publications of the European Communities,

Luxembourg.

No.5 Georeferenced Soil Database for Europe: Manual of Procedures Version 1.0. European Soil Bureau,

Scientific Committee. EUR 18092 EN 184pp. (1998). Office for Official Publications of the

European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.6 Soil Resources of Europe. P. Bullock, R.J.A. Jones and L. Montanarella (eds). EUR 18991 EN

202pp. (1999). Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.7 Soil Classification 2001. Erika Micheli, Freddy O. Nachtergaele, Robert J.A. Jones & Luca

Montanarella. (2002). EUR 20398 EN, 248pp. Office for Official Publications of the European

Communities, Luxembourg.

No.8 Soil Geographical Database for Eurasia & The Mediterranean: Instructions Guide for Elaboration at

scale 1:1,000,000. Version 4.0. J.J. Lambert, J. Daroussin, M. Eimberck, C. Le Bas, M. Jamagne, D.

King & L. Montanarella. (2003). EUR 20422 EN, 64pp. Office for Official Publications of the

European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.9 Soil Resources of Europe: incorporating EU Candidate Countries. P. Bullock, R.J.A. Jones & L.

Montanarella (eds). (2003). EUR 20559 EN [In Press] Office for Official Publications of the

European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.10 Land Degradation. L. Montanarella and R.J.A. Jones (eds). (2003). EUR 20688 EN, 324pp. Office

for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.11 Soil erosion risk in Italy: a revised USLE approach. M. Grimm, R.J.A. Jones, E. Rusco & L.

Montanarella. (2003). EUR 20677 EN, 23pp. Office for Official Publications of the European

Communities, Luxembourg.

No.12 Validation of soil erosion risk assessements in Italy. A.J.J. Van Rompaey, P. Bazzoffi, R.J.A. Jones,

L. Montanarella & G. Govers. (2003). EUR 20676 EN. 25pp. Office for Official Publications of the

European Communities, Luxembourg.

No.13 Validation of soil erosion estimates at European scale. A.J.J. Van Rompaey, V. Vieillefont, R.J.A.

Jones, L. Montanarella, G. Verstraeten, P. Bazzoffi, T. Dostal, J.Krasa, J. Devente, J. Poesen.

(2003). EUR 20827 EN, 24pp. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities,

Luxembourg

No.14 Field Guide to the Soil-landscapes of the Piemonte eastern plain F. Petrella, M. Piazzi, P. Martalò, P.

Roberto, F. Giannetti, N. Alliani, V. Ancarani, G. Nicoli, R. Salandin, & N. Filippi. (2003). EUR

20829 EN, 33pp. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.


Mission of the JRC

The mission of the Institute of Environment and Sustainability is to provide scientific and

technical support to EU strategies for the protection of the environment and sustainable

development. Employing an integrated approach to the investigation of air, water and soil

contaminants, its goals are sustainable management of water resources, protection and

maintenance of drinking waters, good functioning of aquatic ecosystems and good ecological

quality of surface waters.

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