Shallow Soils

  • Khan Towhid Osman


Shallow soils have less than 50 cm depth of solum. Generally, they have a thin A horizon over the bed rock or the parent material. If there is a B horizon underlying the A horizon the total depth of A and B horizon does not exceed 50 cm. Soils having the solum depth of 50–100 cm are moderately deep soils and those having the solum depth greater than 100 cm are deep soils. Soils of the high mountains and valleys are commonly very shallow and lack significant topsoil. They are highly erodible. Such shallow soils on bedrock were known as Lithosols in earlier soil classification systems. Some very shallow soils might have developed from hard calcareous rocks. These soils were earlier known as Rendzina. Some soils are considered shallow if they have root restrictive layers or shallow groundwater table so that roots cannot penetrate those shallow layers. Natural vegetations of shallow soils include grasslands, bush lands and low forests. Shallow soils have severe limitations to agricultural use. Plant roots remain confined to a small volume of soil that cannot provide adequate anchorage, water and nutrients. Shallow soils with root restrictive layers can, however, be profitably used for cropping under sustainable management.


Soil depth Lithosols Leptosols Root restrictive layers Hardpans Shallow groundwater table 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khan Towhid Osman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh

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