V. V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute

Laboratory of Soil Geography and Classification

Valentin D. Tonkonogov
Doctor of Sciences (Agriculture)

The Department has been created in 1927. Beginning from that moment up to the present day it is one of the Institute's oldest scientific divisions, mainly determining its character. In 2002 the department has been reorganized as a laboratory.

During different years there were a lot of outstanding soil scientists-geographers, having worked within this Department, namely: academicians L.I.Prasolov (the first head of the Department) and L.I.Gerasimov (he headed the Department from 1938 up to 1954), Doctors of Sciences E.N.Ivanova (she headed the Department from 1954 up to 1970), V.M.Fridland (he headed the Department from 1970 up to 1983), E.V.Lobova, N.N.Rozov. There were a lot of famous scientists, who spent their many creative years working in the Department, they were N.A.Nogina, V.A.Nosin, E.N.Rudneva, B.F.Petrov, K.P.Bogatyrev, V.A.Andronnikov (he headed the Department from 1983 up to 1994), K.A.Ufimtseva, A.A.Erokhina, S.A.Shuvalov, Iv.P.Gerasimov, I.A.Sokolov, E.M.Naumov and others. Working in the Department became the beginning of their ways in science for V.O.Targulian, N.A.Karavaev, T.A.Sokolova.

Presently the Department's leading scientists are Doctors of Sciences M.S.Simakova, I.I.Lebedeva and T.V.Korolyuk, Ph.Ds N.I.Belousova, R.P.Mikhailova and S.V.Ovechkin.

The principal direction of works is to study the genesis of soils and main predictability of their geography, to develop new methods and to make new soil maps of different scales, to create the genetic classification of the country's soils.

All fundamental developments are based on the huge volume of information on soils and soil cover of the country and the World that had been collected during expedition route and semi-station investigations, carried out within the whole territory of the USSR as well as in some foreign countries. These works' results allowed having general ideas on soils' geography in the country and her separate regions as well as the World as a whole. The main result document is the book entitled "Soil and Geographical regionalization of the USSR" (1962) that has generalized main ideas about mutual dependence of soil cover with other components of natural environment and was the base for all further works in this field of soil science.

Results of many years of investigations on soils' geography and genesis were presented as published and mapping production. There are multi-volume collective monographs, entitled "The USSR Chernozems (Black Soils)" (1974-1981) and "Podzolic soils of the Union's European part" (1977-1981).

They have published numerous monographs and articles in scientific journals and collections, characterizing soils and soil cover of separate regions, as well as properties, genesis and regimes of the country's soils of most important types. Among these publications it should be recognized the following ones, namely: "Soils of Altai-Sayan region" (B.F.Petrov, 1952), "Soils of the USSR desert zone" (E.V.Lobova, 1957), "Soils of Orenburg region" (A.A.Erokhina, 1959), "Soil cover of Zakarpatskaya region" (E.N.Rudneva, 1960), "Soils of Tuva" (A.A.Nosin, 1963), "Soils of Zabaikalie" (N.A.Nogina, 1964), "Volcanism and soil formation" (I.A.Sokolov, 1973), "Soils of the south part in taiga zone, West Siberian plain" (K.A.Ufimtseva, 1974), "Soils of Central European and Central Siberian forest steppe" (I.I.Lebedeva, E.V.Semina), "Clayic-differential soils of the European Russia" (V.D.Tonkonogov, 1999), etc.

A set of soil maps of various scales has been made and published, among them the most important soil map works were the State Soil Map and RSFSR Soil Map of 1:2.5 million scale.

The State Soil Map (SSM) of 1:1 million scale is presented as separate sheets (more than 200), covering territories of Russia and countries containing the USSR previously. The SSM programme (1955) developed by academicians L.I.Prasolov and I.P.Gerasimov has provided making map sheets on the base of soil map materials generalization, the united systematic soil list and the general conventional marks system. The SSM program was open for enlargement of the soil list according to appearance and availability of new materials on the genesis, geography of soils and new classification decisions. A great contribution in development of SSM had been made by professor E.N.Ivanova and her created scientific team of soil scientists-geographers. The SSM was a crucial problem of the Department and united regional teams of soil scientists in Russia and other republics of the USSR.

Beginning from 1986 making the SSM sheets has been leaded by RAAS academician L.L.Shishov. The department's experts headed by V.L.Andronikov and jointly with co-executives have made according the new programme more than 100 sheets of the map for Siberia and Far East territory. The published sheets of the SSM are widely used for scientific and practical purposes. Presently making this map is practically finished.

The RSFSR Soil Map of 1:2.5 million is a fundamental and extremely informative publication created by the large authors' collective headed by professor V.M.Fridland. It is the first map, on which not only main soil and geographic peculiarities, but also principal traits of soil cover structure have found their reflection for the whole country's territory.

Among other maps it should be noted the Soil Map of Non-Black zone in RSFSR, the USSR Soil Map of 1:4 million scale, a typical for Non-Black zone the medium-scale Soil Map of Yaroslavl region with following it maps of applied significance (executive editors V.M.Fridland and R.P.Mikhailova). A series of general soil maps for continents (mainlands) and the World.

In the department a set of methodological textbooks on soil mapping, used by soil scientists of the whole country. There are "Soil survey", "General-Union instruction for making large scale soil maps of land utilization", "Methodological recommendations on making regional medium scale soil maps showing structure of soil cover", "Methodological recommendations on making and utilization of detailed soil maps".

The most great contribution in the World soil science is the development of new scientific direction in the area of soil geography, namely, the study on soil cover structure, that has been used as a basis of making new generations of soil maps of different scales, including above mentioned Soil Map of RSFSR. Basic grounds of this study have been formulated firstly by V.M.Fridland in this article entitled "On the structure of soil cover" (1965) and they were developed in several subsequent monographs. This direction got further development in his followers' works (L.P.Ilyina, N.P.Sorokina, V.P.Belobrov, M.S.Simakova, V.S.Stolbovoy, T.V.Korolyuk et al.).

From 1950 according to professor J.A.Liverovsky's initiative investigations which basis was utilization of distant methods for soil mapping began to develop. Pioneers of this direction were well known scientists, namely: V.L.Andronikov (the author of the monograph entitled "Aerospace methods for soil study" and the founder of the unique in the country laboratory for aerospace soil mapping), M.S.Simakova, V.A.Kalnina. Due to their works as well as works of T.V.Korolyuk, I.J.Savin et al. the analysis of distant surveys' materials is considered now as the binding methodological technique for mapping of soil cover, its structure and dynamics.

One of the most important theoretical generalization of genetic and mapping investigations is development of the country's soil classification. Basing on ideas of I.P.Gerasimov, A.A.Zavalishin, E.N.Ivanova and N.N.Rozov about soil genetic classification the department's staff under leadership of E.N.Ivanova and N.N.Rozov has created the first official country's soil classification, constructed on the ecological and genetic basis. The first edition of the classification as "Directives on classification and diagnostics of soils" has been published in 1967 and its improved variant entitled "Classification and diagnostics of the USSR's soils has been published in 1977. It gave the diagnostics of all soils in the country's arable lands for the first time. This document is the basis for soil mapping and registration of land resources. In 1982 under leadership of V.M.Fridland backgrounds for a new substantive-genetic classification of the World soils have been developed, where soils on the level of high taxonomic units were diagnosed exclusively according to their properties. For the first time it was proposed to construct a classification in accordance with three independent components, namely: profile-genetic, regime and mineral-granulometric ones. Results of this work are published in the book entitled "Main principles and elements of soil base classification".

Presently this traditional direction of the department's work is actively being developed. One of the important scientific achievements is developing and publishing in 1997 a new classification of the country's soils entitled "Classification of Russia's soils" (collectors are L.L.Shishov, V.D.Tonkonogov, I.I.Lebedeva). For the first time the classification covers the whole diversity of the country's soils, including soils anthopogeneously transformed by different degree. Diagnostics of all taxones is built exclusively on properties reflected in the structure of the soil profile as the system of genetically coincided horizons and genetic traits. The new classification will be in near future recognized as an official normative document instead of acting from 1977 "Classification and diagnostics of the USSR's soils", because it has stopped adequately representing contemporary ideas on soils and soil covers of the country. In 2001 the improved English version of the classification (Collectors are the same as above-mentioned and M.I.Gerasimova, the editor is R.Arnold).

At the same time the Laboratory is developing principles and main elements of factor and evolution and genetic components for classification of soils and non-soil surface formations of land. In connection with intensification of human intervention into pedogenesis processes the Laboratory's genetic and geographic theme emphasized studying agro- and technogene changes of the country's soils and soil cover. The role of agropedogenesis in changing water and temperature regimes of main soils in European Russia has been researched (I.I.Lebedeva), results of complex investigations of influence of drainage on properties, regimes and fertility of agro-sod-podzolic soils (M.S.Simakova) have been generalized, argotechnogene evolution of soils and soil cover of broad-leaved forests of Sredne-Russkaya upperland and forest-steppes of Zauralje has been studied (Ph.D. (Geography) F.B.Redkin), the character of technogene transformation of soils and soil cover in areas of oil and gas fields of West Siberia is been studied (researcher O.A.Dvornikov).

At the same time the Laboratory is going on using traditional practice of studying natural soil formation in poor investigated regions of the country. For Central Siberia a new concept of boreal wind erosion and soil formation on main soil forming rocks has been developed (leading researcher N.I.Belousova). For taiga forest soils of Preduralje and the South Ural ecological and diagnostic indices for soil groups with discussed genesis and classification position and factors of soil cover differentiation for these territories have been identified (leading researcher R.P.Mikhailova).

In connection with finalizing the process of sheets of the country's State Soil Map, having lasted more than 50 years and developing new technologies in the area of soil mapping the Laboratory is busy with working out the concept and programme reforming this map as the IBM version using materials of distant probing and modern technologies for their computing (V.D.Tonkonogov, R.P.Mikhailova, T.V.Korolyuk, researcher G.V.Ashatina, mapping group). The scientific basis for the common legend of this map will be the new genetic classification of soils.

In the field of investigating soil cover structure, its state and dynamics the Laboratory is developing the factor and genetic approach based on analysis of distant presentations using interactive technologies (T.V.Korolyuk). On the base of this approach a concept of soil cover structure as an integral character of environment state and dynamics.

Publications of the staff