Case study: Transcatalònia field trip

Photo acknowledgement: Catalan Institute of Agricultural Studies (ICEA) and Catalan delegation of the Spanish Soil Science Society (SECS) 

Transcatalònia field trip

Since 2001, the Soils Section of the Catalan Institute of Agricultural Studies (ICEA) has collaborated with the Catalan delegation of the Spanish Soil Science Society (SECS) to organise the Transcatalònia field trip. Each edition typically involves a small group of 20 to 40 participants, including members from ICEA and SECS (such as edaphologists, agronomists, geologists, foresters, naturalists, and environmentalists), as well as high school and university students. 

Transcatalònia originated from field trips associated with various soil subjects or specialisation courses taught at the Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering since 1998. These excursions, spanning two days, traversed Catalonia and continue to be organised today. 


The primary objective of Transcatalònia is to deepen the knowledge of Catalonia’s soils among students and professionals involved in edaphology. 


Over one day, Transcatalònia offers participants a comprehensive exploration of soil profiles, typically presenting four or five profiles up to depths of 1.5 meters. These profiles are showcased in various locations, such as ditches, breaks in paths, or other suitable sites. Knowledgeable guides provide insights into the morphological and analytical characteristics of each soil profile covering aspects like genetics, morphology, agriculture, forestry, and carbon sequestration. Soils are selected based on factors such as geomorphic position, age, original material, climate, and biological activity. The soils are chosen to illustrate specific messages related to carbon sequestration, vegetation-dependent morphology, root depth, crop suitability, amongst others.  

The activity rotates annually between different regions of Catalonia, often leveraging existing studies or projects in the selected area.  The routes from the last five editions of Transcatalònia: 

2023: “An approach to the soils of El Penedès in a context of drought” (Location: Penedès) 

2022: “Transformations of landscapes and soils, 40 years after the edaphic studies of 1982” (Location: Segrià i Garrigues) 

2019: “Loess soils. Notes from the battle front” (Location: Terra Alta i Ribera d’Ebre) 

2018: “From the new settlement of Calbell de Banat by Galceran de Pinós to the decisive drive of the dairy sector by Josep Zulueta” (Location: Alt Urgell) 

2017: “Cistercian soils. Edaphic surroundings of the monasteries of Poblet and Vallbona de les Monges” (Location: Conca de Barberà i Urgell) 

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