|Used in||WRB, other|
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Chernozem (Russian: Чернозём, tr. chernozyom, IPA: [tɕɪrnɐˈzʲom]; "black soil") is a black-colored soil containing a high percentage of humus (4% to 16%) and high percentages of phosphoric acids, phosphorus, and ammonia. Chernozem is very fertile and can produce high agricultural yields with its high moisture storage capacity. Chernozems are also a Reference Soil Group of the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB).
The name comes from the Russian terms for black and soil, earth or land (chorny + zemlya). The soil, rich in organic matter presenting a black color, was first identified by Russian geologist Vasily Dokuchaev in 1883 in the tallgrass steppe or prairie of European Russia.
Chernozems cover about 230 million hectares of land. There are two "chernozem belts" in the world. One is the Eurasian steppe which extends from eastern Croatia (Slavonia), along the Danube (northern Serbia, northern Bulgaria (Danubian Plain), southern Romania (Wallachian Plain) and Moldova) to northeast Ukraine across the Central Black Earth Region of Central Russia, southern Russia into Siberia. The other stretches from the Canadian Prairies in Manitoba through the Great Plains of the US as far south as Kansas. Similar soil types occur in Texas and Hungary. Chernozem layer thickness may vary widely, from several centimetres up to 1.5 metres (60 inches) in Ukraine, as well as the Red River Valley region in the Northern US and Canada (an area formerly known as lake Agassiz).
The terrain can also be found in small quantities elsewhere (for example, on 1% of Poland). It also exists in Northeast China, near Harbin. The only true chernozem in Australia is located around Nimmitabel, with some of the richest soils in the nation.
There is a black market for the soil in Ukraine, where it is known as chornozem (Ukrainian: чорно́зем, romanized: chornózem). The sale of agricultural land has been illegal in Ukraine since 1992, but the soil, transported by truck, can still be sold and bought. According to Kharkiv-based "Green Front" NGO, the black market for illegally acquired chernozem in Ukraine was projected to reach approximately US$900 million per year in 2011.[unreliable source?]
|Chernozemic soil type "equivalents", in Canadian, WRB, and USA soil taxonomy|
|Chernozemic||Kastanozem, Chernozem, Phaeozem||Borolls|
|Brown Chernozem||Kastanozem (Aridic)||Aridic Boroll subgroups|
|Dark Brown Chernozem||Haplic Kastanozem||Typic Boroll subgroups|
|Black Chernozem||Chernozem||Udic Boroll subgroups|
|Dark Grey Chernozem||Greyzemic Phaeozem||Boralfic Boroll subgroups, Albolls|
Theories of Chernozem origin:
These data challenge the common paradigm that chernozems are zonal soils with climate, parent material and bioturbation dominating soil formation, and introduce fire as a novel, important factor in the formation of these soils
It is now an open question as to whether Neolithic settlers did indeed prefer to grow crops where Chernozems occurred or if Neolithic burning formed the chernozemic soils.
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The dictionary definition of chernozem at Wiktionary