The obvious aim of soil conservation is the protection of agricultural soils from erosion and pollution and maintaining their fertility. Natural soils especially the most fertile in the undisturbed state require conservation from the biosphere point of view. These soils are characterized by the maximum diversity of organisms and make the greatest contribution to the regulation of the Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere.
In order to preserve the diversity of natural soils as an indispensable component of the biosphere it’s important to organize the work for the creation of the Red Books of Soils, both national and regional.
Principles of the identification of reference soils
- Morphological features, genetic profile and analytical characteristics of the reference soil should correspond to the central image of soil, given in the soil classification.
- Virgin soils of protected natural territories are expedient to be identified as reference soils
- Reference soils should be typical and abundant for the territory and occupying a significant proportion of the area of the region in question.
- The set of reference soils should be representative at the level of high taxonomic levels (types and subtypes) of the latest Russian soil classifications (Classification and Diagnosis of Soils USSR, 1977, Classification and Diagnostics of Soils of Russia, 2004) to display soil diversity of the region in question.
The main task of Red Books of soils is to identify the system of reference soils within the natural soils areas located in the protected natural territories. The soil cover of the country or region have to be completely represented by the appropriate Red Book. Red Book soils serve as monitoring objects and the standard for anthropogenically transformed analogues. The creation of the Red Book of Soils is particularly important and complicated for the regions significantly changed by technogenic and agricultural impacts.
The preservation of virgin soils is only possible in undisturbed biogeocenose. Therefore the identification of the reference soils system is closely connected with the preservation of natural biogeocenoses within the protected territories.