BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Properties of substances in soils

Land useLand use Source: BGR

Soils vary significantly in both, composition and properties. Nutrients and harmful substances immitted into or released in soils due to weathering and other transformation processes are protected against leaching towards groundwater or transfer to the biosphere at substantially varying degrees due to variation of soil’s filter and buffer capacity. In addition soils tend to react comparatively slowly to external influences and exhibit a distinctive long-term memory for negative impacts.

In order to preserve soil’s buffer and filter functions as well as soil’s productivity for arable and forest land use profound knowledge and information about properties and composition of soils is required. With the aid of soil chemistry laboratories, the establishment and management of a laboratory and profile database and the provision of representative soil information, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources advises the German government and German economy on all issues relating to soil.

One way to analyze and evaluate soil is the measurement of background values of inorganic trace elements in the dissolved fraction and as total content in top soils and sub soils. Scientists acquire them on a national as well as European scale. Further possibilities are the formulation of areal statistics relating to soil statistics relevant for soil conservation activities, as well as the development of pedotransfer functions relating to soil chemistry. Soil researchers can thereby determine the concentration of inorganic substances in seepage water.

Leaching experiments for determining mobility of harmful substances in soils Leaching experiments for determining mobility of harmful substances in soils Source: BGR

In addition to providing data on typical concentration levels for nutrients and pollutants in soils information about soil parameters governing these concentrations and the mobility of the substances of concern is essential. In this context particular attention is paid to compiling regional statistics on soil organic matter (SOM) as well as establishing strategies for monitoring possible changes e.g. due to climate change. Apart from this activity regionalized information for further soil parameters like soil type or soil acidification is compiled and provided at national scale.

Contact 1:

Dr. Daniel Rückamp
Phone: +49-(0)511-643-2963

Contact 2:

Dr. Florian Stange
Phone: +49-(0)511-643-3071

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