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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 341804, 11 pages
Research Article

The Effect of Land Use Change on Transformation of Relief and Modification of Soils in Undulating Loess Area of East Poland

1Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Str. Doświadczalna 4, 20-290 Lublin, Poland
2Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management, University of Maria Curie-Skłodowska, al. Kraśnicka 2c, 20-718 Lublin, Poland

Received 18 July 2014; Revised 15 October 2014; Accepted 21 October 2014; Published 31 December 2014

Academic Editor: Antonio Paz González

Copyright © 2014 Jerzy Rejman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The change of primary forest areas into arable land involves the transformation of relief and modification of soils. In this study, we hypothesized that relatively flat loess area was largely transformed after the change of land use due to erosion. The modifications in soil pedons and distribution of soil properties were studied after 185 years of arable land use. Structure of pedons and solum depth were measured in 128 and soil texture and soil organic carbon in 39 points. Results showed that soils of noneroded and eroded profiles occupied 14 and 50%, respectively, and depositional soils 36% of the area. As a consequence, the clay, silt, and SOC concentration varied greatly in the plowed layer and subsoil. The reconstructed profiles of eroded soils and depositional soils without the accumulation were used to develop the map of past relief. The average inclination of slopes decreased from 4.3 to 2.2°, and slopes >5° vanished in the present topography. Total erosion was 23.8 Mg ha−1 year−1. From that amount, 88% was deposited within the study area, and 12% was removed outside. The study confirmed the hypothesis of the significant effect of the land use change on relief and soils in loess areas.