Chernozem: Soil of the Steppe



Chernozem is the predominant soil of Moldova and the country’s greatest natural treasure. Its profile is very thick, well humified and well structured – properties inherited from the steppe. Only grassland with its many-branched and deeply-ramified root system is able to produce abundant organic matter and humification throughout the solum. The underlying horizon, enriched in secondary carbonates, is a marker of the soil water regime that determines the different subtypes of chernozem. From north to south, less and less water percolates through the profile; in phase with the water regime, Leached chernozem gives way to Typical chernozem which, in turn, gives way to Carbonate chernozem. All chernozem share the thick, black, granular topsoil – remarkable for its fertility and resilience – but more than a century of cropping has degraded the chernozem; even where the soil profile is intact, it has lost half of its native humus and requires different and better treatment if its productivity is to be sustainable.


Humus Content Granular Structure Steppe Vegetation Typical Chernozem World Reference Base 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Ursu
    • 1
  • A. Overenco
    • 1
  • I. Marcov
    • 1
  • S. Curcubặt
    • 1
  1. 1.ASM Institute of Ecology and GeographyChisinauRepublic of Moldova

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