Introduction to section I. European volcanic soil resources

Olafur Arnalds*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


The first section of this book, titled European Volcanic Soil Resources, provides a unique compilation of papers describing soils of volcanic regions in Europe. The widely scattered distribution of volcanic soils in Europe may come as a surprise to many readers, but most of these areas are relatively small, especially in Central Europe. Iceland represents by far the largest volcanic area, of about 100,000 km2, while the largest area on the continent is in France. The papers in this section describe soils and environments of volcanic areas of mainland Europe and of the Atlantic islands, including the Azores, Canaries, and Madeira Islands. The papers give vital background information about the volcanic soils of Europe and the environments that have shaped these soils, enhancing the usefulness of the subsequent chapters, which deal with the COST-reference pedons from these countries in greater detail. However, the papers not only describe soils; due to the origin of the volcanic soils, most of the papers have sections describing the volcanism in these areas, enriching the book with geological accounts of recent volcanisms in Europe. Sections on vegetation, climate, and land use are present, but more detailed papers on land use considerations are found in the last section of this book. Many of the papers have sections explaining the history of the study of volcanic soils in each country, which in some cases are presented in English for the first time. These accounts are extremely valuable for casting light on the progression of the study of volcanic soils in general, in addition to being important for soil science in each of the countries. The literature reviews which the papers provide are also quite important for students and future research of volcanic soils in Europe. The papers vary considerably in how the subject is treated. Many adhere to classical explanation of soil genesis such as by emphasis on the state factors (soil forming factors). The papers reflect great differences in scholarly approach, general perception about soil formation, and training among the various European countries. These differences, however, are worth consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoils of Volcanic Regions in Europe
PublisherSpringer Berlin / Heidelberg
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)3540487107, 9783540487104
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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