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ISRIC monolith NL-001.jpg
Luvisol from the Netherlands
Used inWRB, other
WRB codeLV
ClimateHumid temperate climate

Luvisols are a group of soils, comprising one of the 32 Reference Soil Groups in the international system of soil classification, the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB).[1] They are widespread, especially in temperate climates, and are generally fertile.[1] Luvisols are widely used for agriculture.[2]


Global distribution

Luvisols cover 500–600 million ha of land area, mainly in the temperate zones.[1] They form on a wide variety of mineral parent materials.[1] In Mediterranean regions, the formation of hematite can produce red-coloured Chromic Luvisols.[2]

Description and formation

The main characteristic of Luvisols is an argic horizon, a subsurface zone with higher clay content than the material above it.[1] This typically arises as clay is washed downward by water and accumulates at greater depth. The clay minerals have not been extensively weathered and are therefore of the high-activity, 2:1 type, giving these soils high cation exchange capacities and high base saturation.[1][2] In uneroded landscapes, a lighter, clay-depleted eluvial horizon occurs above the argic horizon.[2]

In other classification systems

The Canadian system of soil classification includes Luvisols. In the USDA Soil Taxonomy, Luvisols are typically classified as Alfisols.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f IUSS Working Group WRB (2015). World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014, Update 2015 (PDF). Rome: FAO. ISBN 978-92-5-108369-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e Zech, Wolfgang; Schad, Peter; Hintermeier-Erhard, Gerd (2014). Böden der Welt (in German) (2nd ed.). Berlin: Springer Spektrum.

External links