Description and classification of soils of the high-elevation grasslands of central Peru Academic Article uri icon


  • Little has been reported on the soils of the high-elevation grassland known as the "puna" of Peru. The objectives of this study were to characterize and classify some of these little-known soils on a 17000-ha area in the puna as part of a vegetation inventory. Morphological and chemical descriptions of eleven soils are presented. Soils differed mainly because of distinctions in topographic position, slope and parent material. Topographic position strongly influenced moisture regimes of the soils which were grouped according to occurrence: floodplains, upland depressions, glaciated uplands and unglaciated mountain slopes. Parent materials were alluvium; glacial till; siltstone residuum; and colluvium derived from andesite, limestone, and siltstone. The mineral soils had histic, mollic, umbric or ochric epipedons. All upland mineral soils had argillic horizons. Upper profile horizons commonly had pH values between 4 and 5. High CEC values in the upper horizons are attributed to high quantities of organic matter or amorphous clays derived from volcanic ash falls or both. Soils were tentatively placed in five taxa: (1) Mollic Cryoboralfs; (2) Argic Pachic Cryoborolls; (3) Argic Cryoborolls; (4) Typic Cryohemists; and (5) Typic Cryaquents. © 1988.

published proceedings

  • Geoderma

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Wilcox, Bradford P||Allen, BL||Bryant, FC

publication date

  • May 1988