• Edoardo A. C. CostantiniEmail author
  • Roberto Barbetti
  • Maria Fantappiè
  • Giovanni L’Abate
  • Romina Lorenzetti
  • Simona Magini
Part of the World Soils Book Series book series (WSBS)


Pedodiversity of Italy, that is, the diversity of soil genetic types, their geographic distribution, and the statistical variability of their properties, is depicted by means of maps and information stored in the national soil database. Soil regions on hills are the most lithologically and climatically variable environments, and host the greatest soil variability and endemisms. A vast majority of the WRB reference soil groups (25 out of 32), as well as soil orders of Soil Taxonomy (10 out of 12), are represented in the main Italian soil typological units (STUs), but the clear skewness and lognormal distribution of STUs demonstrate the utmost endemic nature of many Italian soils. In particular, more than a fourth of STUs belongs to Cambisols, more than a half to only four reference soil groups, and 88 % to nine RSGs, while the remaining 16 RSGs are represented in 12 % of STUs. A similar trend is depicted by considering single soil profile classification, although a larger number of main soil types are represented as soil profiles than as STUs. Ferralsols (Oxisols for Soil Taxonomy) and Durisols are the only main kind of soils that have not yet been found in Italy. Likewise RSGs, the distribution of WRB qualifiers shows an evident concentration in relatively few cases, followed by a long tail. In particular, 138 out of the 180 types foreseen by WRB are represented in Italy. Thus, it is possible to say that in Italy, there is about three quarters of the global pedodiversity. Although the most common qualifiers (that is, Calcaric, Haplic, Skeletic, Eutric) are all related to the nature of parent material and to incipient pedogenesis, a second group (namely Chromic, Calcic, Stagnic, and Luvic) indicates the main soil-forming mechanisms that typify current Italian pedogenesis.


Soil Organic Carbon Soil Taxonomy Soil Organic Carbon Density Sodic Soil Main Soil Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Authors acknowledge the contribution of the participant to the project “soil database of Italy”, financed by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies, and in particular all the regional soil services, and the soil chairs of the Universities of Perugia, Sassari, Venice, and Palermo. A special thank is for prof. Carmelo Dazzi, University of Palermo, for the useful comments and information, in particular on soils of Sicily.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edoardo A. C. Costantini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roberto Barbetti
    • 1
  • Maria Fantappiè
    • 1
  • Giovanni L’Abate
    • 1
  • Romina Lorenzetti
    • 1
  • Simona Magini
    • 1
  1. 1.Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura (CRA-ABP), Research Centre for Agrobiology and PedologyFirenzeItaly

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