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Research article2009Peer reviewed

The stone and boulder content of Swedish forest soils

Stendahl, Johan; Lundin, Lars; Nilsson, Torbjörn


Stone and boulder content has a strong influence on many soil processes and is a crucial factor to take into account when estimating element pools. In this paper we present the results of a large scale inventory of the stone and boulder content of forest soils, which employed a surface penetration method (Viro's method) in 1943 plots across Sweden. The volume of stones and boulders was 43.4%, on average, although it was 47.6% for the most common soil type on glacial till parent material. The variation was spatially correlated and there were regional patterns, which were related to bedrock composition and Quaternary development. A stoniness function was developed for the upper 30 cm of the mineral soil and this was used to translate the penetration depths into stone and boulder content. The function was based on a reference data set of 200 soil pits. A relationship was found between stone and boulder content and surface boulder frequency, but the strength of the relationship varied regionally. In some regions surface boulders may provide an indicator of stone and boulder content in the soil. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Stoniness index; Coarse fragments; Boulders; Soil inventory

Published in

2009, Volume: 77, number: 3, pages: 285-291