Siols of Russia
Agriculture and food production were very important to Russian tsars. Russian scientists were encouraged to study soils and classify them according to food productivity. The “father of soil science” was Vasily Dokuchaev. He was born in Russia in 1846. In 1883, he wrote a book called Russian Chernozem.Dokuchaev believed that chernozem (which means “black earth”) soils were created by the mutual activity of air, water, and plants. He revolutionized soil science by focusing upon the interrelated roles of climate and vegetation in soil development. Dokuchaev's soil classification system has been widely accepted around the world.
Chernozem soils, like Chestnut soils, have a fine, granular texture and similar basic color tones. However, they differ markedly in terms of organic matter and fertility. Chernozem was formed in an east-west belt of Russia that receives more annual rainfall than the Chestnut soil belt of the dry steppe region. It also has more moderate temperatures. Chernozem soils are formed under tall grass cover, whereas Chestnut soils form under short grass cover. Vast amounts of organic material of grass root origin extend for great depths into the upper layer of the soil.Within this mixture of mineral earth and natural compost, there is a layer of lime. Enriched by vast amounts of humus and lime, the basic parent material and wind-deposited fine silt combine to produce one of the most fertile soils in the world. The soil gets its black color from its high humus content. In this soil belt east of the Volga River and in Kazakhstan, the true Chernozem soil is not as deep, but the humus content increases to more than 15 percent. When properly managed, the soil can produce winter and spring wheat, rye, barley, oats, sugar beets, and a great variety of other crops. Chernozem soil is wonderfully fertile, and is by far the best soil for farming in Russia.
- Natural vegetation
- Weather and climate
- Introducing Russia
- Epilogue: Engaging with Post-Soviet Northern Eurasia
- Central Asia: The Heart of Eurasia
- Eastern Europeans: Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova
- The Baltics: Europeysky, Not Sovetsky
- The Far East: The Russian Pacific
- Vignette 27.1. Profile of Biysk