Divulgazione scientifica

Using existing soil databases to consider paleosols in land planning:
Case study of the Lombardy region (northern Italy)


Edoardo A.C. Costantini1, Francesco Malucelli2-3, Stefano Brenna2, Alberto Rocca2

1 - CRA-Istituto Sperimentale per lo Studio e la Difesa del Suolo, Firenze, Italy
2 - ERSAF-Ente Regionale per i Servizi all’Agricoltura ed alle Foreste della Lombardia, Milano, Italy
3 - Present Address: Servizio Geologico Sismico e dei Suoli. Regione Emilia-Romagna, Bologna, Italy

Quaternary International
Volumes 162-163, March 2007, Pages 166-171
The Soil Record of Quaternary Climate Change
Available online at ScienceDirect.com

2006 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA




Paleosols are soils that preserve a large amount of information about the environments of the past. Many paleosols are of such scientific interest, scenic attraction, rarity, ecological importance, or didactic value, that they can be considered a cultural heritage. In flat or gently sloping areas of densely populated territories, the preservation of this cultural heritage an be threatened by urbanization. Land-use planning to preserve the cultural heritage of the landscape should therefore take into account the presence of paleosols. The aim of this work is set up a methodology which could be applied on existing soil databases to implement soil information related to paleosols in land planning. The study area was the Po River plain and morainal hills of the Lombardy region of Italy. The area is made up of Pleistocene glaciofluvial deposits and Holocene alluvial sediments. Existing knowledge about Lombardy relict and buried paleosols of different Pleistocene ages, produced by authors during the last decades, was collected and used to select paleosol properties and rate their cultural value. A GIS of soils, paleosols, pedolandscapes, parks, and land uses has been created and investigated to identify
pedolandscapes rich in paleosols with high cultural value. Many areas with paleosols resulted threatened by complete loss because of urbanization. A land planning strategy aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of the territory should foresee the enlargement of the part of the territory currently set aside as a park, to protect those pedolandscapes which are at highest risk, that is where urbanization exceeds 35% of the area.

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