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Department of Soil and Water Systems

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Rm 242
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2340
Moscow, ID 83844-2340

Phone: 208-885-0111

Email: cals-sws@uidaho.edu

Web: uidaho.edu/cals/sws

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Histosols

Histosols (from Greek histos, "tissue") are soils that are composed mainly of organic materials. They contain at least 20-30 percent organic matter by weight and are more than 40 cm thick. Bulk densities are quite low, often less than 0.3 g cm3. They are often referred to as peats and mucks and have physical properties that restrict their use for engineering purposes. These include low weight-bearing capacity and subsidence when drained. Histosols are divided into five suborders: Folists, Wassists, Fibrists, Saprists and Hemists.

Most Histosols form in settings such as wetlands where restricted drainage inhibits the decomposition of plant and animal remains, allowing these organic materials to accumulate over time. As a result, Histosols are ecologically important because of the large quantities of carbon they contain. These soils occupy approximately 1.2 percent of the ice-free land area globally and approximately 1.6 percent of the U.S.

Histosols
Histosols are organic soil materials that either: (1) are saturated with water for at least 30 days per year unless drained and have a minimum thickness of 40-60 cm depending on fiber content; or (2) constitute at least 2/3 of the total soil thickness to a root-restrictive layer. (USDA-NRCS image)

Contact

Department of Soil and Water Systems

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Rm 242
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2340
Moscow, ID 83844-2340

Phone: 208-885-0111

Email: cals-sws@uidaho.edu

Web: uidaho.edu/cals/sws

Directions