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Berlin Environmental Atlas

01.11 Criteria for the Evaluation of the Soil Functions (Edition 2006)

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01.11.6 Nutrient Storage Capacity/ Pollutant Binding Capacity

Description

The storage and binding capacity describes the ability of a soil to bind nutrients or pollutants to the organic substance or to the clay minerals of the soil. It depends on the clay content, the type of clay minerals and the humus content. Organic material in the form of humus or peat has a considerably higher binding capacity than do clay minerals. This is dependent on the pH value, however, and drops with the pH value. Soils with high clay contents and a high proportion of organic substance, with weakly acidic to neutral pH values, therefore have a high binding capacity for nutrients and pollutants.

Methodology

The nutrient storage capacity/ pollutant binding capacity of the soils is derived from the levels of the ascertained effective cation exchange capacity (cf. Map 01.06.9), which is very largely reflected by the above-mentioned characteristic values.
The evaluation of the binding capacity is carried out in three steps, according to Table 1, from the levels of effective cation exchange capacity, where levels 1 and 2 are combined as low, and levels 4 and 5 are combined as high.

Table 1: Evaluation of the Nutrient Storage Capacity/ Pollutant Binding Capacity
KAKeff [cmolc/kg] KAKeff Level Nutrient Storage Capacity/
Pollutant Binding Capacity
< 4  1  very low low
4 - < 8 2 low low
8 - < 12 3 medium medium
12 - < 20 4 high high
≥ 20 5 very high high
Table 1: Evaluation of the Nutrient Storage Capacity/ Pollutant Binding Capacity, Based on the Levels of Mean Effective Cation Exchange Capacity (KAKeff). (Lahmeyer 2000)

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