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Distribution of nitisols

A nitisol in the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) is a deep, red, well-drained soil with a clay content of more than 30% and a blocky structure. Nitisols correlate with the kandic alfisols, ultisols and inceptisols of the USDA soil taxonomy.[1][2]

These soils are found in the tropics and subtropics; there are extensive areas of them in the tropical highlands of Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. Nitisols form from fine-textured material weathered from intermediate to basic parent rock and kaolinite, halloysite and iron oxides dominate their clay mineralogy.

The natural vegetation on nitisols includes tropical rain forest and savannah. Limitations frequently include low phosphorus availability and low base status, but once ameliorated, these deep, stable soils have high agricultural potential, and are often planted to crops.

See also[edit]


  • IUSS Working Group WRB: World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014, Update 2015. World Soil Resources Reports 106, FAO, Rome 2015. ISBN 978-92-5-108369-7 (PDF 2,3 MB).
  1. ^ Delvaux, B.; Brahy, V. "Mineral Soils conditioned by a Wet (Sub)Tropical Climate". FAO. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Major Soils of the World. ISRIC Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2001" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-06-14.

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