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  • Author or Editor: V. Láng x
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The development of the recent European and global initiatives resulted in an increasing demand for harmonized digital soil information. One of the major limitations of harmonization is the great variation of field and analytical methods and classification systems. Since 1998, the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) is the global correlation scheme for soil classification and international communication. The one to one correlation of units, however, is difficult, if not impossible. Another problem is that the correct correlation of national units to WRB units might have spatial consequences. If the original map units need to be maintained, it is important to express the extent to which certain national units match with the WRB units. Taxonomic distance measurements were applied successfully to express numerically the correlation between the brown forest soil types (BFS) of the Hungarian Soil Classification System (HSCS) and WRB Reference Soil Groups (RSGs).

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The current Hungarian Soil Classification System (HSCS) was elaborated during the 1960s, based on the genetic principles of Dokuchaev. It was developed before sufficient data and modern data processing tools were available and served different purposes than current users need or apply it for.The central unit is the soil type, grouping soils that were believed to have developed under similar soil-forming factors and processes. The major soil type is the highest category that groups soils based on climatic, geographical and genetic bases. Subtypes and varieties are distinguished according to the assumed dominance of soil-forming processes and observable/measurable morphogenetic properties. STEFANOVITS (1963) defined the 23 soil-forming processes that have a dominant impact on the differentiation of the 39 soil types of the system.Based on accumulated data and experience, as well as on numerical tools for defining taxonomic relationships a modernization process was carried out. The process included: linking processes to diagnostics, review and numerical study of similarities and dissimilarities of existing units, development of new central units, development of a computer assisted key, and definition of methodology to derive the lower level units. The new, 15 soil types are defined by stronger morphogenetic and measurable criteria, but with the application of legacy data and the developed key, the earlier units can be converted to the new ones, hence the value of legacy data can be preserved.

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