UBC Malcolm Knapp Podzol

Soil Site Details: UBC Malcom Knapp Podzol

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: Coniferous Forest
Climate Zone: Humid Maritime
BC Biogeoclimatic Zone: Coastal Western Hemlock

Location: UBC Malcom Knapp Research Forest
City, Region, Country: LFV near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Lat / Long: 49.27403/ -122.57

Soil Classification

Soil Order: Podzol
Great Group: Humo-Ferric Podzol
Subgroup: Orstein Humo-Ferric Podzol
Soil Series: Capilano
Classification Code: OT.HFP
Soil Horizons Present: F, H, Ap, Ae, Bhf, Bfc, BC
Diagnostic Horizon 1: Bhf
Diagnostic Horizon 2:
Diagnostic Horizon 3:
Diagnostic Horizon 4:

Land Form

Land Form: Glacio-fluvial
Parent Material: Glacio-marine deposit topped with glacio-fluvial outwash
Elevation (m): 170
Topography: Inclined
Affected by Glaciation: Yes


Climate Zone: Humid Maritime
Mean Annual Temperature (C): 9.8
Minimum Annual Temperature (C): 5
Maximum Annual Temperature (C): 14.6
Mean Annual Precipitation (mm): 2500

Land Use

Current Land Use: 2nd-growth forest
Original Vegetation: Western hemlock, western red cedar
Current Vegetation: Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar

Technical Description
The soil at this forested site is of the Podzolic Order. Podzol soils are one of the forest soil types in the Canadian soil classification system. They commonly occur in coniferous or mixed forest ecosystems. 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 Ortstein Humo-Ferric Podzol Subgroup. The diagnostic horizon is an ortstein horizon >3 cm thick, in this case Bhf, that is strongly cemented. Ortstein horizons are generally reddish brown in colour. This soil is further classified under the Capilano Soil Series, which are found on uplands and lower mountain slopes in the Greater Vancouver area. These soils are well to rapidly drained but the cemented subsoil (ortstein horizon) slightly restricts permeability in the subsoil. Surface textures are mostly gravelly loamy sand and stoniness is moderate to excessive. Capilano soils have up to 15 cm of coniferous forest litter on the mineral soil surface. The parent material at this site is made up of a glacio-marine deposit topped with glacio-fluvial outwash.

PDF with details: 7_Capilano.pdf

Soil Morphology
Soil Texture of Diagnostic Horizon or Prevailing Texture: Sandy Loam
Soil texture horizons: Sandy loam (Ap), Sand (Bhf, Bfc, BCgj, and C)
Soil structure horizons: Weak granular (Ap), single grain, structureless (Bhf, Bfc and BCgj)
Forest Humus Form:
Presence of Charcoal:
Presence of Coatings:

Soil Formation Processes
Primary Soil Process Group: Transformation
Primary Soil Process: Podzolization
Secondary Soil Process:


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

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