Soil-Scientific Characteristic Values



Various “soil-scientific characteristic values” are used to assess the physical, chemical, biological and ecological properties of the soils in the urban area. The information on the parameters and properties of soils in the city is presented in nine Environmental Atlas maps and their descriptions. Data sources include the findings of the defined “soil associations”, for example.

In order to assess the physical properties of a soil, the “soil type” has to be established, i.e. the grain size of the mineral material. Another characteristic value is the “usable field capacity”, i.e. the amount of water a soil can retain for plants. The data available reveals that, especially in the inner city, one should expect a reduced capacity to retain water.

Other important characteristic values of the soil include the “sum of exchangeable basic cations (S-value) and the “effective cation exchange capacity”, which are used to evaluate the nutrient supply or the nutrient storage and pollutant binding capacity of a soil. The “saturated water permeability (kf)” indicates the ability of water to percolate into the soil, for example during heavy rainfalls. The “humus quantity” and the “organic carbon stock” shed light on how much dead organic matter a soil contains and how much organic carbon is bound to it. The “pH values of the topsoil” indicate how alkaline or acidic a soil is.

Browse the following pages to learn more about the composition and distribution of Berlin’s soils in terms of their soil-scientific characteristic values.

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