Soil Types: The Formation Process to Its Distribution in Indonesia

Soil Type – Soil is land and one of the components in the form of the earth’s surface. The land referred to here is the condition of the soil. Soil is also a resource that is often used by humans. Growing plants, building houses, and even doing activities requires land.

Quoting the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), soil can be interpreted as the surface of the earth or the layer of the earth that is above it; the state of the earth somewhere; the earth’s surface that is given a boundary; mainland; and others. Soil comes from the weathering of rocks with the help of organisms, forming a unique body that covers the rock. This process of soil formation is known as pedogenesis.

This unique process forms soil as a natural body consisting of layers or is referred to as a soil horizon. Each horizon tells about the origin and physical, chemical and biological processes that have been passed through the soil body.

Soil Formation Process

Soil comes from the weathering of rocks with the help of organisms, forming a unique body that covers the rock. The process of soil formation is known as “pedogenesis”. This unique process forms soil as a natural body consisting of layers or is referred to as a soil horizon. Each horizon tells about the origin and physical, chemical and biological processes that have been passed through the soil body.

Hans Jenny (1899-1992), a soil expert from Switzerland working in the United States, stated that soil is formed from parent material that has undergone modification/weathering due to the dynamics of climatic factors, organisms (including humans), and the relief of the earth’s surface (topography). as time goes by. Based on the dynamics of the five factors, various types of soil are formed and soil classification can be carried out.

Soil is formed from rocks and rocks take millions of years to turn into soil. Rocks become soil because of weathering, namely the process of breaking down rocks into soil. Rocks can experience weathering due to various factors, including weather and the activities of living things. Weather factors that cause rock weathering, such as temperature and rainfall.

Weathering caused by weather factors is called physical weathering. The living things that cause weathering, for example trees and mosses are called biological weathering. Soil is formed from several factors, namely rocks, climate, living organisms, topography, and time. There are various differences from these factors, the processes of weathering and soil formation are different. This causes differences in soil types from one region to another.

Soil Benefits

The benefits of land for human life include land as land, industrial raw materials and energy sources.

  1. Land as land, among others, is used for settlements, industrial land, agricultural land, and others.
  2. Soil as an industrial raw material is used among others for making pottery, raw materials for cement, and building materials (tiles and bricks)–clay; for oil drilling and iron–mud casting molds; for raw materials for paper, textiles, chemicals and ceramics – kaolinite is a type of clay, soft, white/yellow/gray in color, rich in aluminum silicate.
  3. Soil as an energy source, for example peat soil is one alternative energy source. Peat-resistant distribution areas in Indonesia are in East Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Papua.

Soil Components

The soil component is the composition of the process of soil formation. Soil is not a pile of solid material in a dead and static system, but is a dynamic and living system that changes from time to time. Every soil is composed of mineral/inorganic matter, organic matter, groundwater, and air. Mineral material comes from the weathering of rocks, while organic matter comes from the decomposition of dead organisms.

However, the ratio of each soil component varies in each soil and changes over time. For a good ratio of soil components what plants need ideally is 45% mineral matter, 5% organic matter, 25% water, and 25% air.

Soil Characteristics

The soil body (solum) is nothing but rock that is weathered and undergoes further formation processes. The age of the land found at this time is not older than the tertiary period and mostly formed from the Pleistocene.

Soil bodies are formed from a mixture of organic matter and minerals. Non-organic soil or mineral soil is formed from rock, so it contains minerals. In contrast, organic soils (organosol/humosol) are formed from compaction of degraded organic matter.

Organic soil is black in color and is the main constituent of peatlands and can later become coal. Organic soils tend to have high acidity because they contain some organic acids (humic substances) resulting from the decomposition of various organic matter. This soil group is usually poor in minerals, the supply of minerals comes from flowing water or the results of decomposition of living tissue.

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Organic soils can be planted because they have loose physical properties (nests), so they can store enough water, but because they have high acidity, most food crops will give limited yields and below optimum performance.

Non-organic soils are dominated by minerals. These minerals form the soil-forming particles. Soil texture is determined by the composition of the three soil-forming particles: sand, silt (dust), and clay. Sandy soil is dominated by sand, loamy soil is dominated by clay. Soil with a balanced composition of sand, silt and clay is known as loam .

The color of the soil is the main characteristic that is most easily remembered by people. Soil color varies greatly, ranging from dark black, brown, brick red, orange, yellow, to white. In addition, soil can have layers with contrasting color differences as a result of chemical processes (acidification) or leaching ( leaching ).

Black or dark soils often indicate a high presence of organic matter, either due to weathering of vegetation or deposition in swamps. The dark color can also be caused by the presence of manganese, sulfur and nitrogen. The reddish or yellowish color of the soil is usually due to the high content of oxidized iron; Different colors occur due to the influence of the conditions of the chemical process of its formation. Aerobic/oxidative conditions produce uniform colors or gradual color changes, while anaerobic/reductive conditions lead to spotted or concentrated color patterns.

Soil structure is a physical characteristic of the soil that is formed from the composition between the aggregates (grains) of the soil and the space between the aggregates. Soil is composed of three phases, namely the solid phase, the liquid phase, and the gas phase. The liquid and gas phases fill the space between the aggregates. Soil structure depends on the balance of these three constituent factors. The space between the aggregates is referred to as the porus (plural pores).

Soil structure is good for roots if the large pores (macropores) are filled with air and the small pores (micropores) are filled with water. Loose soil (nest) has a fairly large aggregate with balanced macropores and micropores. The soil becomes more clayey when the clay content is excessive, so it lacks macropores.

Soil Classification

Soil classification has various versions. There are technical difficulties in classifying soils because many factors influence soil formation. In addition, soil is a dynamic object, so it is always undergoing a process of change. Soil is formed from worn/weathered rock due to exposure to dynamics in the lower layers of the atmosphere, such as climate dynamics, topography/geography, and the activity of biological organisms. The intensity and time intervals of these factors also result in variations in the appearance of the soil.

In classifying soil, experts first do it based on physical and chemical characteristics, as well as by looking at the layers that make up the soil profile. Furthermore, after the technology has developed far, the experts also look at aspects of the bedrock that forms the soil and the weathering process of the rocks which then gives certain characteristics to the soil that is formed.

Based on these criteria, there are many types of soil in the world. To make it easier, experts often classify locally. For Indonesia, for example, the Dudal-Soepraptohardjo Classification System (1957-1961) is known, which is still referred to today in Indonesia for agricultural purposes, especially in a modified version by the Center for Soil and Agro-climate Research (Puslittanak) in 1978 and 1982.

In 1975, the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) classification system was released. This system was created because the old classification systems overlapped in naming due to different criteria. In use, the USDA system provides clear criteria compared to other classification systems, so that the USDA system is usually included in soil classification to accompany naming based on the FAO or PPT (Center for Soil Research) systems.

The weakness of this system, especially for developing countries, is that the criteria are based on detailed laboratory analysis, making it difficult for practitioners to define directly in the field. However, the USDA system is helpful because it uses a consistent naming system.

For communication among world soil experts, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has also developed a soil classification system since 1974. In 1998 it was agreed to use the WRB classification system from the World Reference Base for Soil Resources, a project formed by FAO, to replace the system This. The latest version of the WRB system was released in 2007.

Various Types of Soil

Soil type will affect soil fertility. Geographical and astronomical location in Indonesia has a very important influence in forming various types of soil. The following is an explanation of several types of soil, their characteristics and their distribution in Indonesia:

1. Alluvial Soil Type

Alluvial soil is a type of soil that occurs due to silt deposits which are usually carried away by river flow. This soil is usually found downstream because it was brought from upstream. This soil is usually brown to gray in color.

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This land is very suitable for agriculture, both rice and secondary crops such as corn, tobacco and other types of plants because the texture is soft and easy to cultivate so you don’t have to work hard to hoe it. This land is widely spread in Indonesia from Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and Java.

2. Andosol Soil Type

Andosol soil is a type of volcanic soil which is formed due to volcanism in volcanoes. This soil is very fertile and good for plants. The color of the andosol soil is grayish brown. This soil is very rich in minerals, nutrients, water and minerals so it is very good for plants. This soil is very suitable for all types of plants in the world. Its distribution in Indonesia itself is in the areas of Java, Bali, Sumatra and Nusa Tenggara.

3. Entisol Soil Type

Entisol soil is a relative of andosol soil, but is usually weathered material released by volcanic eruptions such as dust, sand, lava and lapilli. This soil is also very fertile and is a young soil type.

This soil is usually found not far from the volcano area, it can be in the form of a thin soil surface that does not yet have a layer of soil and in the form of a sand dune like that in Parangtritis Beach, Yogyakarta. The distribution of this entisol soil is usually found around volcanoes such as Parangtritis Beach, Yogyakarta, and other areas of Java that have volcanoes.

4. Grumusol Soil Type

Grumusol soil is formed from the weathering of limestone and volcanic tuffa. The organic content in it is low because it is made of limestone, so the soil is infertile and not suitable for growing plants. The texture of the soil is dry and easily broken especially during the dry season and has a black color. The level of acidity (pH) that is owned is neutral to alkaline (alkaline).

This land is usually located on a surface that is no more than 300 meters above sea level and has a flat to undulating topography. Changes in temperature in areas where there are grumusol soils are very real when it is hot and rainy. Its distribution in Indonesia is in Central Java (Demak, Jepara, Pati, Rembang), East Java (Ngawi, Madiun) and East Nusa Tenggara. Because of its dry texture, it would be good if it was planted with strong vegetation such as teak.

5. Humus Soil Type

Humus soil is soil formed from the weathering of plants. Contains lots of nutrients and minerals and is very fertile. Humus soil is very good for planting because it is very fertile and good for plants.

This soil has a lot of nutrients and minerals due to weathering of plants so that the color is slightly blackish. This land is located in an area where there is a lot of forest. Its distribution in Indonesia includes Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, Papua, and parts of Sulawesi.

6. Types of Limestone Soil

As the name implies, limestone soil comes from weathered limestone. Because it is formed from limestone soil, it can be concluded that this soil is not fertile and cannot be planted with plants that require a lot of water. Limestone soils are planted with strong and durable trees such as teak and other hard trees. Limestone soils are scattered in dry areas such as in Gunung Kidul Yogyakarta, and in limestone mountainous areas such as in Central Java, West Java, East Nusa Tenggara.

7. Type of Latosol Soil

This soil type is also found in Indonesia, this soil is formed from the weathering of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The characteristics of latosol soil are its red to yellow color, its clay texture and has soil coatings. The distribution of this litosol soil is in areas that have high rainfall and high humidity as well as at altitudes ranging from 300-1000 meters above sea level. Latosol soil is not very fertile because it contains iron and aluminum. Distribution of latosol soils in Sulawesi, Lampung, East and West Kalimantan, Bali and Papua.

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