Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
any one of a series of genetic soil groups occurring on plains, in mountain tundras, and, to a lesser extent, in the arctic and forest-tundra zones. Tundra soils form in a cold humid climate under low unproductive vegetation. They are usually confined to regions with permafrost, but they also form on seasonally frozen rocks outside the permafrost zone.
The following groups of tundra soils are distinguished in the northern hemisphere: tundra gleys, tundra illuvial humuses, tundra podzolic Al-Fe humuses, tundra sods, tundra volcanic soils, tundra residually calcareous soils, and tundra weakly biogenic soils. Tundra gleys and illuvial humuses are the most common.
Vegetation growing in tundra soils is an important food source for reindeer (winter and summer pastures). The following crops are raised in the open ground in the tundra zone: potatoes and other vegetables, forage root crops, barley (for its foliage), and grasses. (Vegetables are also cultivated in hothouses.)
The principal approaches to the improvement of tundra soils are the alteration of water and temperature conditions, the intensification of related biochemical processes for which meliorative measures are used (drainage, irrigation, creation of shelterbelts), the application of large quantities of organic and mineral fertilizers, and the implementation of special methods of soil cultivation.
N. A. KARAVAEVA and V. O. TARGUL’IAN