UBC Alder Site

Soil Site Details: UBC Alder Site

Soils on this site are classified as Podzols. Many would consider the Podzols to be the most visually striking soils in Canada. Podzols are one of the most common soils found under coniferous (evergreen) forests.

Basic Facts

Soil Order: Podzol
Ecosystem: Deciduous Forest
Climate Zone: Humid Maritime
BC Biogeoclimatic Zone: Coastal Western Hemlock

Location: Pacific Spirit Park
City, Region, Country: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Lat / Long: 49.26673/ -123.235

Soil Classification

Soil Order: Podzol
Great Group: Humo-Ferric Podzol
Subgroup: Orthic Humo-Ferric Podzol
Soil Series: Bose
Classification Code: O.HFP
Soil Horizons Present: LF, H, Ah, Bhf, Cg, IIC
Diagnostic Horizon 1: Bhf
Diagnostic Horizon 2:
Diagnostic Horizon 3:
Diagnostic Horizon 4:

Land Form

Land Form: Glacial till
Parent Material: Glacial till and glacial marine
Elevation (m): 96
Topography: Level
Affected by Glaciation: Yes


Climate Zone: Humid Maritime
Mean Annual Temperature (C): 10
Minimum Annual Temperature (C): 6.5
Maximum Annual Temperature (C): 13.7
Mean Annual Precipitation (mm): 1200

Land Use

Current Land Use: Alder forest
Original Vegetation: Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar
Current Vegetation: Alder, big-leaf maple, vine maple

Technical Description
The soil at this alder site is of the Podzolic Order. Podzol soils are one of the forest soil types in the Canadian soil classification system. This site has been recently disturbed and red alder, an early successional species, has now established at this site. Podzols generally have a B horizon that is enriched with amorphous material composed mainly of humified organic matter, Al and Fe. The soil at this site falls into the Humo-Ferric Podzol Great Group. The diagnostic horizon is a Bhf horizon thicker than 10 cm, that is reddish in colour and enriched with Fe/Al. It has a relatively low organic C content (0.5-5%). This soil is further classified under the Bose Soil Series, which is described as moderately to well-drained, with up to 10 cm of organic forest litter on the soil surface. The parent material is made up of glacial till.

PDF with details: 1_2_Bose.pdf

Soil Morphology
Soil Texture of Diagnostic Horizon or Prevailing Texture: Loamy Sand
Soil texture horizons: Loamy sand (Ah, Bhf), Sandy loam (Cg), sand (IIC)
Soil structure horizons: Weak sub-angular blocky (Ah, Bhf), single grain, structureless (Cg, IIC)
Forest Humus Form: Mull
Presence of Charcoal: No
Presence of Coatings: Yes, rooting mat on top of Cg & Fe/Al coatings in Bf
Soil Formation Processes
Primary Soil Process Group: Transformation
Primary Soil Process: Podzolization
Secondary Soil Process: Gleying


Podzol, from https://processes.soilweb.ca/podzol/.

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