Modelling pedogenesis of Technosols

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Technosols, soils subjected to a strong human influence and containing significant amounts of artefacts, are characteristic of the Anthropocene. In order to better apprehend their growing importance in our current environment, our knowledge of the evolution and fate of these soils must be improved. The aim of this article is to promote pedogenic modelling for Technosols by proposing an appropriate framework. The paper first defines the characteristics of Technosol pedogenesis, and then considers the requirements for its modelling in light of general concepts of pedogenesis, modelling tools and techniques, and 18 selected existing quantitative models. This mixed technical and conceptual analysis allows us to address at once the modelling approach, the choice of processes, the integration of control variables, the time scales, the spatial representation, and the data needed for such a framework. Technosol pedogenesis is characterised by the soils' anthropic creation, a young age, a climate globally favourable for soil evolution, a surprising level of biological activity, and mostly reactive artefacts as parent materials. Pedogenic processes observed in Technosols are similar to those occurring in more natural soils; however, they generally have fast kinetics and occur in unusual assemblages. We propose that the modelling framework for Technosol evolution should be based on the coupling of process-based models of soil functioning processes and accommodate the peculiar properties of technogenic materials. Our work also highlights modelling features needed for pedogenesis in general: development of biological and physical models, selection of a comprehensive energy unit, dual-time scale modelling, and multi-scale representation of the soil profile. We propose (i) an adaptation of existing energy metrics (entropy, exergy, emergy or EEMT), (ii) a dual-time scale approach, our original concept, based on resilience patterns in soil changes, and (iii) the development of an existing spatial representation. Constructed Technosols are a relevant experimental model which supplies reliable data on soil evolution, data which are required for the development of pedogenic models. Technosols are emblematic of the issues we face for the management of the soils of the Anthropocene. The design of a modelling framework for Technosol evolution should therefore bring interesting developments for pedogenic modelling in general.




Leguédois, S., Séré, G., Auclerc, A., Cortet, J., Huot, H., Ouvrard, S., … Morel, J. L. (2016, January 15). Modelling pedogenesis of Technosols. Geoderma. Elsevier.

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