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Spatial Heterogeneity of the Soil Cover in the Yucatán Karst: Comparison of Mayan, WRB, and Numerical Classifications


In karstic areas, geopedologic information integrating soil and relief features, especially concerning short-distance variability, is usually scarce. The aim of this paper was to compare soil classes in the Yucatán karst using the Mayan soil nomenclature, the World Reference Base for Soil Resources
(WRB), numerical soil classification (NSC), and geostatistics. The landscape is a flat-to-slightly-undulating karstic plain. Soil properties were determined at 54 sampling points on a regular grid covering an area of 1350 m2.
Six indigenous soil classes were identified on the basis of the terrain position, topsoil color, stoniness, rockiness, rock type, and soil depth. Five WRB soil units were recognized belonging mainly to Leptosols. Furthermore, six NSC groups were determined mainly on the basis of organic matter and stoniness. Soil organic material and texture explained 57% of the variation of the soil cover. An isotropic model of organic carbon shows a range of 39 m.