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ISSN 10642293, Eurasian Soil Science, 2011, Vol. 44, No. 5, pp. 534–546. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2011.

Original Russian Text © A.S. Yakovlev, M.V. Evdokimova, 2011, published in Pochvovedenie, 2011, No. 5, pp. 582–596.
534
INTRODUCTION
The specificity of soil as a complex natural and nat
ural–anthropogenic object on lands with different
functional purposes is not reflected sufficiently in the
existing scientific, regulatory, methodological, and
technical materials focused on the assessment of the
allowable ecological status of soils and the regulation
of the allowable anthropogenic impact on them.
A unified scientific conception of standardization
in the field of environmental control and that of soil,
in particular, has not been developed in our country up
to the present. There are only separate scientific
methodological approaches to the regulation of the
ecological quality of soil presented in the works of
Russian [3, 4, 14, 19, 21, 22, 29, 32, 33, 36, 41, 44, 47]
and foreign [51–57] researchers. The definition of
ecological standardization presented generally in the
Federal Law of the Russian Federation on Environ
mental Protection was not expounded in the corre
sponding state regulatory documents.
The relationship is not defined exactly between the
two interdependent branches of ecological standard
ization: the determination of the allowable ecological
status of soils and the allowable anthropogenic impact
on them.
This situation is partly explained by some heteroge
neity in the conceptual and applied knowledge of
these components of standardization. For example, if
the information about the status and standardization
of the soil is presented somehow in different depart
mental standards (ecology, medicine, agriculture,
etc.), the system of controlling the levels of anthropo
genic impacts on the soil is presented very poorly. This
is especially obvious against the background of rather
advanced practice concerning the system of control of
the anthropogenic effects on the atmospheric air and
water systems (the determination of the maximum
allowable emissions and discharges). Some aspects of
the assessment and control of unauthorized impacts
on soils are not taken into account. The problem of the
principles of the separation and controlling of the lev
els of deposited (accumulated) and actual (recent)
loads on the soil should be solved.
Hence, the list of problems connected with the
assessment and standardization of the system of
impact on the soil (unlike the problem of the charac
teristics of the soil’s status) is presented more sche
matically in the belief that this aspect will be developed
as a system of ecological standardization as a whole.
This work is aimed at the development of the scien
tific methodological principles of ecological soil stan
dardization comprising the scientific substantiation of
the levels of the allowable ecological status (quality) of
the soil and the allowable anthropogenic impact on it.
The tasks of this work were as follows: the develop
ment of criteria for the determination of the levels of
the allowable ecological status of the soil and the
allowable anthropogenic impact on it taking into
account the natural and climatic features of the terri
tory and the land use types; the characteristics of the
anthropogenic effects on the soil; the formation of a
unified system of the indices of the soil quality and the
anthropogenic impact on it; the development of scien
tific and practical approaches to the control of the
ecological quality of the soil.
Ecological Standardization of Soil and Soil Quality Control
A. S. Yakovlev and M. V. Evdokimova
Faculty of Soil Science, Moscow State University, Vorob’evy gory, Moscow, 119991 Russia
Received August 30, 2010
Abstract—Theoretical bases are offered for the ecological soil standardization presuming the scientific sub
stantiating of the allowable ecological state (quality) of the soil and the allowable anthropogenic impact on it.
The modern experience of these bases’ application in regulatory–methodological, naturecontrol, and man
agerial practices is presented. The criteria are found for determining the levels of the allowable ecological
quality of soil and the anthropogenic impact on it. The sources of the anthropogenic impact on the soil are
characterized. A unified system of indices of soil quality and anthropogenic impacts and a mechanism for
determining the range of the allowable values of these parameters have been developed taking into account
the natural conditions and types of land use. Scientificmethodological approaches are proposed that support
a certain balance between the allowable ecological status of the soil and the effects on it in connection with
the mechanisms of the soil quality control in particular land plots.
DOI: 10.1134/S1064229311050152
DEGRADATION, REHABILITATION,
AND CONSERVATION OF SOILS
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
ECOLOGICAL STANDARDIZATION OF SOIL AND SOIL QUALITY CONTROL 535
CRITERIA FOR THE DETERMINATION
OF THE LEVELS OF THE ALLOWABLE
ECOLOGICAL STATUS OF THE SOIL
AND THE ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACT ON IT
In natureprotection practice, the field of ecologi
cal standardization of soil is often unsuccessful,
because interpreting the results of scientific research
in the current regulatory and methodological docu
ments is not easy. In this relation, we face the problem
to maximally generalize and bring the scientific
approaches to the criteria and methods of soil stan
dardization more in line with the current ideology in
the sphere of environmental control and official regu
latory and methodical documents. The results of long
term observations of wellknown scientists and experts
in the field of physical, chemical, and biological
assessment and control of soil quality were used in
order to solve the problems of establishing the stan
dards of soil quality [3, 4, 12, 19, 20, 29, 33, 36, 41,
58]. The scientific stage of establishing the ecological
standards supposes mostly searching for and deter
mining the main regularities in the relationships
between the environment’s status (E) and the anthro
pogenic effect on it (the “state–effect” system).
Therefore, the criteria and vales of the standards of the
E quality and effects on it are developed on the basis of
the determined regularities with establishing the
ranges of their allowable values.
The “state–effect” system. The study of this rela
tionship is aimed first of all at searching for the point
of irreversible changes in the E quality and in the soil
quality, particularly “the point of no return” of an eco
system to the initial state, the determining of which is
the key criterion in determining the allowable changes
of its ecological quality and the allowable anthropo
genic effect.
Based on significant analytical materials and obser
vations, most scientists who work in the field of the
environmental effects of anthropogenic factors assess
ment agree that the “state–effect” relationship is non
linear and is described by the so called “catastrophe
theory” [3]. It is generally accepted that a catastrophe
is the discontinuous change that occurs in the form of
a sudden response of the system to the gradual changes
of external conditions [3]. Soil, as an integral natural
system, being subjected to contamination or physical
degradation, is capable of “resisting” any particular
effect; i.e., it is capable of selfregenerating. If the limit
of the soil’s resistance is surmounted, the soil quickly
and irreversibly loses its environmental functions. The
works concerning the following problems can sserve as
examples: the assessment of soil contamination with
petroleum products [21, 36, 42, 43] and/or heavy met
als [22, 49], the study of steppe vegetation digression
resulting in desertification [2], humus losses due to an
anthropogenic load [20], etc. In all the cases consid
ered, the loss of more than 30% of the soil’s bioorganic
potential usually induces irreversible changes [41, 50].
The beginning of an “avalanchelike” flux of contam
inants and the soil masses into the adjacent media
(water, atmospheric air, soil of neighboring land plots)
can be considered as a general regularity often con
nected with the loss of the abovenamed bioorganic
potential when the threshold values of the soil quality
are overcome [8, 23].
Resistance of different soil types to anthropogenic
effects and their ecological standardization. Soils of dif
ferent types differing mostly in their particlesize com
position, organic matter content, and acidity level dis
play different resistances to the anthropogenic load. As
distinguished from the relatively homogeneous natural
components (the atmospheric air and water environ
ment), which are characterized by approximately sim
ilar levels of allowable contamination in different nat
ural zones, the levels of allowable contamination for
the soils of these zones can differ by ten and more
times by the respective parameters [8, 18, 22].
Crudeoil production, transportation, and refin
ing; waste treatment; and the environmental contam
ination with heavy metals and other toxicants have
occurred practically in all regions and natural zones of
Russia, and this has made it necessary to account for
the soils’ capability for different resilience and begin
ning the scientific study and development of the corre
sponding regulatory and methodical documentation
on the assessment of the allowable soil state and the
allowable effect on it. A similar situation is observed
when standardizing the quality of urban soils, which
can significantly differ in humus content, acidity, the
particlesize composition, and other parameters
responsible for the soil’s resistance to anthropogenic
impacts [25, 33].
Setting of ecological standards for soils differing in
land use. The current practice of land use in our coun
try is not equipped properly with a unified standard
and methodological base focused on the determina
tion of the ecological standard of the soil quality for
lands of different categories and types of economic
use. The ecological standardization of soils under dif
ferent land use, unlike that for natural (typical) lands,
is complicated by a minimum of two obstacles. First,
every type of land use changes the natural properties of
the soil; second, every type of land use has its statutory
rules of land resource use, and this is reflected in the
economic, social, ecological, and medical standards
of the allowable soil degradation and contamination,
which often have a technocratic emphasis. Hence, in
the process of setting standards for soils of different
land categories, the authors deal with solving a diffi
cult multidimensional problem, which is often solved
without proper scientific substantiation in dynami
cally developed managerial practice for natural lands.
Consequently, the uncertainty formed does not allow
exactly calculating the level of the soil state’s deviation
from the state taken as the ecological standard for a
particular type of soil and land use, correctly assessing
the expediency of its economic use, making an unam
536
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
YAKOVLEV, EVDOKIMOVA
biguous decision about the necessity of performing
reclamation works, etc. This problem can be solved
only if a scientifically substantiated understanding of
the ecological soil quality standard for the lands of dif
ferent economic use is formed in the natureprotec
tion and natureresource governmental structures. It
would be expedient to begin with establishing the gen
eral limits of the indices for the allowable “state–
effect” for soils of all known categories of land.
The analysis of the recent scientific information
and the Russian and foreign legislation demonstrates
that such a consolidated determination of general lim
its is very probable. For example, the main natural
resource laws of our country confirm the scientifically
based priority of providing a favorable environment
and the priority of the preservation of the soil as the
most important environmental component under all
types of economic activity [10 (Clauses 1, 12), 38
(Clause 3), 39 (Clause 21)].
Thus, such priority envisages the existence of uni
fied (for all types of land use) standards of ecological
soil quality taking into account the particular natural
conditions and the character of the land use. Hence,
all types of land use can be performed on lands with
soils that keep their natural properties, i.e., with “eco
logically healthy soils.” In this case, the low limit of
the allowable state (quality) of these soils and the level
of the allowable anthropogenic impact on these soils
would be determined. The difference in the soil quality
and the effects on it for all the land use types can be
evaluated only when moving from a set lower limit of
the quality and the effect of the improvement of the
natural soil state, i.e., towards the background values.
Soil’s capability for preserving resistance to
anthropogenic impacts caused by any type of land use,
i.e., the capability for restoring the main natural
resource properties, can serve as the main criterion for
determining the lower limit of the soil quality and the
impact on it. This principle is declared in Clause 3 of
the Law of the Russian Federation on Environmental
Protection [38], where the formation of conditions
favoring the reproduction of natural resources and the
environmental functions of natural systems is brought
to the level of the main directions of the naturepro
tective activity.
The maximum allowable limit of the disturbance of
the soil and land quality is determined by the capabil
ity for reproducing (reversibility). This parameter
serves as the unified allowable limit providing the soil’s
resilience in the process of an anthropogenic load
under all the types of land use. As was noted above, this
parameter was determined by the way of the longterm
scientific observations and supposes that the threshold
of the soil systems stability for all types of land use
(including industrial zones) does not allow the loss of
more than 30% of the bioorganic soil potential and
negative effects on the adjacent environment.
Hence, we determined in a general outline the uni
fied limits of the parameters for the soils of all the land
categories. Now, the individual limits of the ecological
“state–effect’’ norm can be determined within the
general limits for soils of every land use category taking
into account their specifics. We named them the
“basic ecological norms for soils of different land cat
egories” (Table 1) [48]. The presented values of the
ecological norms can be considered as initial or basic
requiring further updating in the process of the com
prehensive study of the land use types within a partic
ular land category.
The values close to the background ones serve as
basic values for the soils of reserved territories. The
allowable levels of contamination for agricultural and
urban lands would not step over the boundaries of
medical standards for the maximum allowable con
centrations (MAC), because this is connected with the
quality of food and direct contact of humans with con
taminated soils in residential blocks. The prevention of
contaminants transition into the adjacent environ
ments is in turn the key limiting factor for soils of water
and forestry funds and of industrial lands. The quality
and impact are characterized for every category differ
ing in the land use type by a particular range of allow
able values based on the corresponding basic ecologi
cal norm (Fig. 1). For example, when determining the

Table 1. Allowable values of the ecological state of soils for the lands of different economic use (“basic ecological norms for
soils of different land categories”)
State
Soils
natural objects natural–anthropogenic objects
land categories
reserves agricultural urban forestry fund industry, transport, etc. water fund state reserve
Chemical Background MAC Transition of contaminants into adjacent environmental me
dia is not allowed
Physical Background Capability of the soil ecosystem for selfregeneration (loss of no more than 30% of the
bioorganic soil potential*)
Biological Background
* The bioorganic soil potential is the sum of the living organisms biomass and the humus in the soil.
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
ECOLOGICAL STANDARDIZATION OF SOIL AND SOIL QUALITY CONTROL 537
maximum allowable level of soil contamination with
oil products [30], the values of the oil concentration
would not exceed 300 mg/kg for the territories of nat
uralrecreational, residential, and communal func
tional use and 1000 mg/kg for the territories of indus
trial and transport use, and these values correspond to
the maximum safety concentration of oil products,
when special sanitation measures are not necessary.
Hence, both concentrations correspond to healthy
soil and are within the unified limits for all types of
economic use of lands in the allowable “state–effect”
ecological range but are at the same type within indi
vidual limits of the allowable values for soils of the
lands of particular economic use.
UNIFIED SYSTEM OF PARAMETRS
OF THE ASSESSMENT AND ECOLOGICAL
STANDARDIZATION OF THE SOIL’S STATE
AND THE ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACT ON IT
The interrelated series of indices in the “state–
effect” system can be conventionally subdivided into
the groups of the parameters of the soil’s state (or qual
ity) and the parameters of the impact on the soil. The
idea of unified indices that characterize, on the one
hand, the state (quality) of the soil and, on the other
hand, the anthropogenic impact on the soil serves as
the connecting link between these groups. Let us call
this unified parameter the “state–effect.”
This parameter provides an understanding of the
recent soil state as well as of the impact on the soil
memorized in the values of its state deviations from the
background one and composed of accumulated
(deposited) and actual (permanent) impacts. The
recent soil state fits the formed effect (deposited and
actual) adequately and can be presented in the form of
unified “state–effect” indices in the unified estima
tion scale of ranking (Fig. 1).
Ranking and ecological standardization of the indi
ces of the soil state and the soil impact. The parameters
of the state and impact can be presented in both abso
lute and relative schedules. The relative and absolute
values in turn are arrayed in the form of ranked lines
according to the loss of the environmental quality and
the increase of the anthropogenic impact. Two scales
of ranking of the state and impact parameters, the
threelevel [13] and fivelevel [5], are the most popular
and approved as standards in natureprotection prac
tice. It seems to be reasonable to combine them in a
unified fivelevel scale and to use this scale further as
the most known and suitable under the real conditions
of land use. It is shown in Table 2 that this scale has two
poles “+” and “–.” Let us proceed from the assump
tion that soil can be injured by an excessive increase as
well as a decrease of any parameter of its specific prop
erties. According to the fivelevel scale of ranking, the
first and second levels can be dated to the period of the
gradual poorly expressed accumulation of adverse
character. This corresponds to a relatively stable envi
ronmental state. The third level corresponds to an
unstable state of the natural system (the loss of about
30% of the environmental quality); the fourth and fifth
levels correspond to catastrophic and distressed levels
(the impetuous and irreversible loss of the environ
mental quality).
Hence, the interval from the first to the initial val
ues of the third level in the system of ranking can be
taken as the environmental state with the level of
impact on it close to the allowable level (ecological
norm).
Concepts of for definition: the ecological quality and
state of the soil; the anthropogenic impact and load on
the soil; an elementary soilecological area. According
to Clause 1 of the Law of the Russian Federation no. 7
[38], the notions “quality” and “state” of the natural
environment and its components are considered as
synonyms. “Environmental quality is the state of the
natural environment, which is characterized by the
physical chemical, biological, and other parameters
and (or) their aggregate.” The same can be said about
the quality and state of soil as one of the environment’s
components: “the ecological quality of soil is the eco
logical state of the soil characterized by the physical,
chemical, biological, and other parameters and(or)
their aggregate.”
Range of the not authorized
anthropogenic impacts on the soil
Range of the
authorized
(allowable)
anthropogenic impacts
on the soil
minimum background maximum
–5–4–3 –2 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5
А B C D
Range of the random changes of the
ecological soil state
Range of the allowable
ecological state
of the soil
Unified scale of
assessment
of the ecological
soil state and the
anthropogenic
impact
(“state–effect”
scale,
Table 2)
Scheme of ranked
indices of basic
ecological norms for
soils of different land
categories within
a single allowable
range of the
“state–effect” values
А B C
Fig. 1. Principal scheme of the unified assessment of the
ecological state of the soil and the anthropogenic impacts
with setting the range of the allowable “state–effect” val
ues under the conditions of authorized and not authorized
anthropogenic impacts: A, lands of industry; B, lands of
the forestry fund; C, agricultural lands and lands of settle
ments; D, lands of natural reserves.
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YAKOVLEV, EVDOKIMOVA
The interpretation of the terms anthropogenic
“impact” and “load” is especially important for soil
scientists and ecologists to find their position about the
possible using of these terms in natureprotection
practice, because it refers to connecting the impact
and the load to a particular territory subdivided into
land plots. On this basis and relying on the text of the
Law of the Russian Federation no. 7, we consider that
the notions “impact” and “load” can be interpreted in
the following way. The term “impact” assumes the reg
istration of the fact of the influence of a particular
source within its impact zone in the surrounding envi
ronment and soil cover. The zone of environmental
impact of the source can be considered in turn as the
territory, where the environmental changes induced by
this source are recorded. The scope of the zone of the
environmental impact of the source depends on its
capacity and can be smaller than the size of one plot or
can exceed the size of several land plots.
It is important also to define the difference between
the regulated effect established by the calculation, for
example, of the maximum allowable emissions (MAE)
and discharges (MAD) [38 (Clause 23)], and an effect
not regulated in the case of an unauthorized discharge
on the soil’s surface or an atmospheric emission, waste
disposal, etc. By definition, the providing of a favor
able environment in the process of the functioning of
the source of the anthropogenic impact is controlled
and regulated in the first case administratively, while,
in the second case, the source works without control,
and the environment’s state in its impact zone can
change also without control (Fig. 1).
The term “load” assumes the registration of the
fact of single or aggregated effects of the sources on the
environment or its components within particular ter
ritories, and the configuration of this territory can be
determined by the reference to practical need and can
be presented particularly by the boundaries of the land
plot.
An elementary soilecological area (ESEA) is the
area determined in the process of assessing the envi
ronmental (soil) quality and the anthropogenic load
and represents a plot within the zone of the anthropo
genic environmental impact of one or several sources
that has similar parameters of ecological quality
according its natural conditions and a similar response
to the anthropogenic load within the boundaries of
this area and a uniform anthropogenic load all over its
area. The unified relative digital symbol (the “state–
effect” index) can designate the quality of the soil in
the ESEA and the impact on it.
Indices of the ecological state of the soil, the anthro
pogenic load, and their combined consideration as uni
fied “state–effect” indices. The indices of the ecological
state (quality) of the soil as an environment component
come under a specific type of soil indices of the physi

Table 2. Assessment and ranking of the values of the ecological state of the soil, the natural environment, and of the anthropogenic
impact*
Unified qualitative schedule of ranking the environmental state and the anthropogenic impact
±1 ±2 ±3 ±4 ±5
Source of
information
Absence of signs:
—suppression of
natural and an
thropogenic bio
cenoses;
—troubles with
health because of
environmental ef
fects;
—disturbances of
natural media and
their functional
equilibrium
—pronounced sup
pression of natural
biocenoses, use of
lands for producing
food without limita
tion;
—the natural envi
ronment as a whole
is suitable for hu
mans;
—signs of the dis
turbance of separate
natural media of re
versible character
—the natural biocenos
es are strongly sup
pressed, the food pro
duction is not efficient
because of the low qual
ity and decreased fertili
ty of the soil;
—population health is
noticeably deteriorated
because of the unfavor
able environmental
conditions;
—the natural environ
ment does not withstand
the anthropogenic load
—impossibility of the
growth of artificial stands,
disagreement concerning
land use for food produc
tion;
—significant degradation
of the population’s health;
—irreversible disturbanc
es of natural media ex
cluding the selfrestora
tion of the natural envi
ronment as a whole
—the bioproductiv
ity of the lands is ze
ro;
—direct contact be
tween humans and
the environment is
dangerous for the
health of humans;
—natural media are
disturbed irrevers
ibly and cannot per
form their functions
in the environment
[5]
Satisfactory ecological situation Ecological emergency Ecological disaster [13]
* Is ranked according the fivelevel schedule [5] and is determined on the basis of the “Metodicheskie recomendatsii po vyyavleniyu degradiro
vannykh i zagryaznennykh zemel’” (Methodical Recommendations Concerning Revealing Degraded and Contaminated Lands) [15].
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
ECOLOGICAL STANDARDIZATION OF SOIL AND SOIL QUALITY CONTROL 539
cal, chemical, and biological state (the levels of the
microelement contents, the density, the population
density and species composition of the aboriginal
microflora, etc.) and not specific parameters of the
properties not typical for the particular soil (the pres
ence of pesticides and microflora not normal for this
soil, inclusions of waste, etc.). The background level
for the specific indices is characterized by particular
values, which vary among the soil types, and is taken to
be equal zero in all the cases for the not specific indi
ces.
An example of the copper content in a soil illus
trates the case with specific indices. The copper con
centration in a soil represents a quality index as well as
an impact index. When the background levels are
exceeded, copper is considered as a heavy metal con
taminating the soil; when the copper concentrations
are lower than background levels, copper becomes a
deficient microelement in the soil. Respectively, the
allowable maximum and minimum soil concentra
tions of copper can be established in both cases. For
example, we can determine (on the basis of the exist
ing standards and literature data) that the background
concentration of copper in a loamy soddypodzolic
soil is 30 mg/kg, the maximum allowable concentra
tion is 132 mg/kg, and the minimum allowable con
centration is 8 mg/kg.
The specific index of the physical soil state and the
impact on it can be represented by analogy. For exam
ple, if the background level of the density is taken as
1.0–1.2 g/cm
3
, the value 0.9 g/cm
3
is taken as the min
imum level, because the plant roots hardly develop in
a loose soil. The values of 1.4–1.5 g/cm
3
correspond to
the maximum level under which the processes of over
compaction begin and an unfavorable air–water
regime is formed for the plants. Similar gradation lev
els can be established for the biological indices as well.
Exceeding the zero levels for the nonspecific
parameters also provides information about the soil
quality and the impact on it. The allowable soil con
centrations of pesticides, oil, and other substances not
typical for the soil are regulated by the ecological and
medical standards of the soil quality.
Indices of the anthropogenic impact on the soil. It is
reasonable to use a wide range of recently known indi
ces in order to characterize the anthropogenic impact
on the soil and to determine its allowable levels. The indi
ces of the “load” on a land plot and the indices of the
“impact” of a particular anthropogenic source can be
considered as the most informative from the viewpoint of
their use for impact assessment and regulation.
If the information about the soil types properties
and their functional use (regardless of the fact within
which land plot they are situated) is sufficient to char
acterize the allowable load, the position of the impact
source relative to a particular land plot will be taken
into account to characterize the allowable impact of a
particular enterprise. Respectively, the allowable effect
of the source (emission, discharge, etc.) should be cal
culated for every land plot separately. Hence, the
anthropogenic effect on the soil can be characterized
by two interrelated groups of indices of the “soil load”
and the “impact sources.” The first group of parame
ters concerning the “soil load” provides a rough idea
of the soil’s response to an anthropogenic impact
within the boundaries of a particular territory (for
example, a land plot); i.e., it represents some imprint
of accumulated (deposited) and actual (recent) effects
on the soil within the boundaries of this territory rep
resented by the values of the parameters of the soil’s
state different from zero or the background values.
These indices can be considered as the indices of the
“state–effect” on the soil. Respectively, they contain
information about the soil’s state and information about
the anthropogenic load on it in a selected land plot.
Information of the second group directly charac
terizes the “impact sources,” the activity of which
results in the formation of a certain level of the load on
the soil by the way of transfer of the anthropogenic
effect of the source through the media adjacent to the
studied land plot (atmospheric air, water medium,
etc.) or directly to the soil.
Formation of the database of the expert–analytical
estimates of the range of the allowable values of the eco
logical state of the soil and the anthropogenic impact on
it. As it was noted above, the unified relative indices
and the values of their estimates are set on the basis of
the criteria for determining the allowable levels of the
ecological state of the soil and the anthropogenic
impact on it. The procedure of determining the allow
able values of these parameters is based first of all on
scientific observations and on information from the
standard and methodological documents with the
assistance of the author’s expert estimates of practical
specialists. For example, the system of indices for the
assessment of the ecological state of the soil and the
anthropogenic impact on it with the designation of the
range of the allowable values for urban soils of different
functional zones is based on these principles (Tables 3, 4).
More detailed and scientifically substantiated infor
mation about the specified range of allowable values
can be obtained as a result of analytical study based on
the above discussed criteria for the determination the
ecological norm of the soil state. An example is pre
sented in Fig. 2 of transferring the absolute values of
the indices of the ecological state and the anthropo
genic impact to the relative ones within the fivelevel
scale of ranking.
The work order for the determination of the allowable
ecological state of the soil, the total anthropogenic
impact, and the anthropogenic load
1
on the soils of a
particular land plot. The order of the interrelated
movements included the determination of the values
1
We discussed above the discrimination between the notions of
“impact” and ‘load’ with the latter being a single or cumulative
anthropogenic impact on the soil of a particular territory (a land
plot).
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EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
YAKOVLEV, EVDOKIMOVA



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ECOLOGICAL STANDARDIZATION OF SOIL AND SOIL QUALITY CONTROL 541
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542
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
YAKOVLEV, EVDOKIMOVA
Table 4. System of parameters used for the determination of the range of allowable values of the ecological state of urban soils and
the anthropogenic impact on them for territories with different functional uses
Element Soil group
Allowable levels of the soil quality and the load on the soil
Minimal Background
Maximal
Types of specialized use of functional zones
natural residential communal
industrial/territories
of transport infrastructure
Total content of heavy metals, mg/kg*
Copper A 8 30 132 132 132 264
B 4 15 66 66 66 132
C 2 8 33 33 33 66
Zink A 30 50 220 220 220 440
B 20 30 110 110 110 220
C 10 20 55 55 55 110
Cobalt A 8 10 40 40 40 80
B 5 8 30 30 30 60
C 3 5 20 20 20 40
Nickel A 12 40 80 80 80 160
B 10 30 40 40 40 80
C 5 15 20 20 20 40
Lead A 8 26 130 130 130 260
B 5 20 65 65 65 130
C 2 12 32 32 32 64
Arsenic A 3.5 4.5 10 10 10 20
B 1.2 2.5 5 5 5 10
C 0.5 1.5 2 2 2 4
Cadmium A – 0.3** 2.0 2.0 2.0 4.0
B – Not determined 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0
C – Not determined 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.0
Manganese All groups 250 1260** 1000 1000 1000 1000
Mercury '' – 0.1** 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1
Concentrations of the mobile forms of heavy metals, mg/kg*
Cobalt All groups 0.3 2.0 <5 <5 <5 <10
Manganese '' 25 80 <700 <700 <700 <1400
Copper '' 0.5 4.0 <3 <3 <3 <6
Nickel '' Not determined 1.5 <4 <4 <4 <8
Lead '' '' 1.2 <6 <6 <6 <12
Fluorine '' '' 2.0 <2.8 <2.8 <2.8 <5.6
Chrome (III) '' '' 5.0 <6 <6 <6 <12
Zink '' 5.0 8.0 <23 <23 <23 <46
Note: A, loamy soils, pH . 5.5; B, loamy soils pH < 5.5; C, sandy and sandy loamy soils. *The total content of heavy metals was set by
the hygienic standards [7], and the concentrations of the mobile forms by [6]. **According to [11], the following values of the
studied chemical elements are set as background one for the determination the levels of the soil and ground contamination in
Moscow with inorganic toxicants: Pb, 26 mg/kg; Cd, 0.3 mg/kg; Zn, 52 mg/kg; Hg, 0.1 mg/kg; As, 6.6 mg/kg; Ni, 20 mg/kg; Cu,
27 mg/kg; Cr, 46 mg/kg; Co, 7.2 mg/kg; Mn, 1260 mg/kg.
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
ECOLOGICAL STANDARDIZATION OF SOIL AND SOIL QUALITY CONTROL 543
of the allowable ecological state (quality) of the soil,
the allowable total impact on the oil, and the allowable
proportion of every anthropogenic source by all the
known factors of impact within the limits of the load
on a particular land plot.
The total anthropogenic impact on the soil com
bines the deposited (accumulated) and actual (recent)
effects. We can say the same about the allowable total
anthropogenic impact, which has two constituents:
the allowable deposited and allowable actual. Both
constituents can be subjected to some regulation: the
first through soil reclamation and the bringing of its
state to allowable ecological characteristics, and the
second, through the control of the activity of the
impact sources and the regulation of the volumes of
the emissions, discharges, levels of land compaction,
etc.
The work on the determination of the allowable
ecological state of the soil and the anthropogenic load
on the soil of a particular soil plot includes the follow
ing stages:
A. Making a list of the characteristics of the main
sources of the anthropogenic impact on the soil and
determining the areas of their effects.
The list of types and sources of probable impact is
made to characterize the anthropogenic impact on the
studied territories. The approximate areas and levels of
the influence are determined for different sources. The
anthropogenic sources are differentiated according to
the levels of their impact within the studied land plot.
B. The investigation and classification of the soils
in the studied land plot. The determination of the
range of the allowable “state–effect” levels for the
types of soil and lands of different land use. The assess
ment of the real ecological state of the soils in a land
plot and the total (summary) anthropogenic load. The
comparison of the real ecological state of a soil and the
load on it in the studied land plot with the indices of
the unified estimation using the “state–effect” scale
(Tables 3, 4). The following variants of comparing the
results of the soil investigation with the allowable val
ues of the ecological state of the soil and the anthropo
genic impact on it on the basis of the presented princi
pal scheme are given in Fig. 1, an example in Fig. 2,
and Tables 3 and 4.
The first variant suggests a simplified scheme of the
assessment of the ecological state and the anthropo
genic impact on the soil based on dividing the whole
field of the ranked estimation of the state–effect ino
two ranges (Fig. 2), namely: the range of allowable
state–effect values from the minimum to maximum
levels and the range of the state–effect values, which do
not correspond to the allowable level. This variant is
suitable for reconnoitering the stages of the investiga
tion, but, in some cases, it can be quite sufficient for
the main, final investigation of the territory of the land
plot.
The second variant proposes a more detailed deter
mination of the levels of the ecological state–effect
based on the assessment of the soil quality in every gra
dation of the fivelevel schedule (Fig. 2) [5]. This vari
ant is aimed at a more comprehensive study of the eco
logical situation and can be used for updating the levels
of the soil contamination and degradation in the stud
ied land plots.
The metodicheskie recomendatsii po vyyavleniyu
degradirovannykh i zagryaznennykh zemel’ [15] and
the method of determination of the level of the loss of
the soil ecological quality (LEQ) presented in Vremen
naya metodika opredeleniya predotvrashchennogo eko
logicheskogo ushcherba [5] can be sources of informa
tion for the accomplishment of both variants of the
estimation the ecological state of the soil.
Every elementary soilecological area within the
studied land plot can receive a “state–effect” score
according to the above described fivelevel schedule
on the basis of the performed investigation. The spec
ified ESEA are grouped according the allowability,
deficiency, or surpassing of the “state–effect” values,
and recommendations are clearly defined for the
plot’s use and the necessity to perform measures for
the improvement of the ecological soil quality and reg
ulation of the impact from the sources of influence
found.
C. The determination of the contribution of the
anthropogenic sources in the allowable total anthro
pogenic load on the soil of a land plot.
D. Setting of the allowable impact on the soil of a
particular land plot for every source of impact.
Range not
corresponding
to the allowable
“state–effect”
level
(deficiency)
Range of allowable
“state–effect” values
Range not
corresponding
to the allowable
“state–effect”
level (excess)
Minimum Background Maximum
8 mg/kg* 27 mg/kg** 132 mg/kg***
–5 –4 –3 –2 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5
Fig. 2. Transfer of the absolute values of the indices of the eco
logical soil state and the anthropogenic impact on it to the rel
ative values within the frame of the fivelevel schedule of rank
ing with setting the ranges corresponding and not corre
sponding to the allowable “state–effect” values using the
example of the copper content in the soil. *8 mg/kg, the cop
per content reflecting the minimum level of the plant
demands for microelement nutrition; **27 mg/kg, back
ground copper content in the territory of Moscow;
***132 mg/kg, PAC for loamy soils with pH > 5.5.
544
EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE Vol. 44 No. 5 2011
YAKOVLEV, EVDOKIMOVA
THE PROBLEMS OF THE REGULATION
OF THE ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACT
ON THE SOIL
The problem of the efficient control of the ecolog
ical soil state is connected first of all with solving the
problems of monitoring, control, and development of
appropriate methods for the regulation of the levels of
the anthropogenic impact on the soil. The investiga
tion and monitoring of the soil in land plots results as
a rule in a generalized pattern of the soil quality,
whereas only the sources of the authorized impacts on
the soil are controlled in the process of the investiga
tion and monitoring of the sources of the anthropo
genic impact with the analysis and accounting for the
unauthorized impact factors. Such an approach does
not provide support of the balance in the “state–
effect” system stated in the natureprotection regula
tion [38 (Clause 5)], and it seems impossible to prop
erly regulate the soil quality with the existing proce
dures of the regulation of the impact on the soil.
Soil as a natural object does not “differ” if there is
the regulation of the impact on it or not; it unambigu
ously responds to any impact with a change of its qual
ity. However, it is known from the material of the state
ecological control that up to 70% of the law violations
in the field of land and natureprotection are con
nected with not accounted for and not limited facts of
atmospheric emissions, water discharges, waste dis
posal, etc. An urgent need arises to decrease the num
ber of nonaccounted for cases of soil impact. This can
be achieved through minimizing the cases of the
revealed unauthorized impact or through extending
the list of regulated types of soil impact, for example,
the assessment and regulation of unauthorized emis
sions and discharges resulting in the diffuse transfer of
contaminants into adjacent media [45].
There is one more problem in the harmonization of
the ecological regulation in the “state–effect” system
in addition to the nonaccounted for (unauthorized)
facts of impact. For example, the character requires
scientific and regulatorymethodical determination of
the soil contamination and the degradation through
the adjacent media (atmospheric air, water, etc.). The
case is that the standards of the maximum allowable
emissions and the maximum allowable discharges are
focused first of all on the regulation of the quality of
the atmospheric air and water but not of the soil prop
erly; respectively, a special system is required to calcu
late the effects on the soil through the atmospheric air,
water, etc.
CONCLUSIONS
Principles are developed of ecological soil stan
dardization comprising the substantiation of the crite
ria and levels of the allowable ecological state (quality)
of soil and the anthropogenic impact on it. The fol
lowing criteria can be considered as the main ones rep
resenting the levels of the allowable values of the soil
quality: the loss of the bioorganic soil potential, which
does not exceed a certain level (according to the data
of expert estimates, the loss of the bioorganic soil
potential would not exceed 30% of its background val
ues); the threshold values of the soil contamination
and degradation under which a largescale transfer of
contaminants and the soil mass into adjacent natural
media is not possible; the resistance of the soil to the
anthropogenic impact depending on its natural prop
erties (humus content, acidity, particlesize composi
tion, etc.); and the land use diversity.
The system of consolidated “state–effect” indices
is developed for soils, and it is expressed as unified rel
ative numerical values on the basis of the abovelisted
criteria and the fivelevel scale of ranking the ecologi
cal state of the natural environment and the impact on
the natural environment, which are used in nature
protection practice. The suggested system serves as the
basis for setting the ranges of the allowable values of
the ecological state of the soil and the anthropogenic
impact on it taking into account the natural soil prop
erties and the land use types. The principles are sub
stantiated for determining the basic indices of the eco
logical soil state by the main categories of land and the
limits of their general ranges of allowable levels.
The following notions are defined more exactly:
the ecological state and quality of the soil; the anthro
pogenic impact and load on the soil. The definition is
given of an “elementary soilecological area.”
A standard base is formed of the data of expert
analytical estimates for the range of allowable values of
the ecological soil state using the example of urban
soils.
A sequence of works to perform the determination
of the allowable ecological state of the soil and the
anthropogenic load on the soil of a land plot is sug
gested.
The ways are discussed to maintain the allowable
ecological state of the soil by means of the regulation
of the deposited (accumulated) and actual anthropo
genic impact on the soil.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We are thankful to T.V. Prokof’eva for reviewing our
work and valuable comments and notes.
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