Diversity and Wealth of the Municipality of Novi Bečej: Geographic Monograph with Overview of Natural Characteristics, Population, Economy, and Settlements

Explore the deeply rooted natural charms and economic potentials of the Municipality of Novi Bečej through a comprehensive geographical monograph. Familiarize yourself with fascinating aspects of the terrain, geology, climate, water bodies, flora, and fauna, while simultaneously delving into vibrant settlements and diverse industries. This informative book provides valuable insights into the richness of this unique Vojvodina region, offering a broad spectrum of information useful for education, regional planning, and preserving local identity.

Pedological Composition

In the territory of the Novi Bečej subregion, all types and subtypes of soil characteristic for the Banat part of the Potisje region are represented. Therefore, there is a noticeable diversity of soil in the field, characterized by variability, unevenness, and a pronounced intermixing of individual soil types. All of this leads to the conclusion that, in addition to general and external factors, local factors have had a significant influence on the formation of the surface soil in this subregion.

It is a well-known fact that the basic factors in soil formation include geological composition, vegetation, climate, and hydrological conditions. Accordingly, the parent substrate or geological foundation is one of the fundamental factors in soil formation in Vojvodina, including the area of the Novi Bečej municipality. This substrate consists of sedimentary rocks, loess, and alluvial deposits—loose rocks characterized by water permeability. This property was a decisive factor in the settlement of plants and the formation of the humus layer during the period of surface soil formation, significantly affecting the fertility and basic quality of the soil.

In addition to the parent substrate, the natural vegetation of the area, climate, and hydrographic conditions played a very important role in soil formation. Among them, local factors had the greatest significance: the Tisa River with frequent flooding from its main channel and changes in its course towards the west; the depth, distribution, and movements of underground water; the arrangement and method of sediment deposition, as well as the development and distribution of natural vegetation.

Chernozem, with its subtypes and varieties, covers 31.2% of the area. This is the most fertile soil in Vojvodina, and therefore in the Novi Bečej subregion as well. Among the most important productive characteristics of chernozem are:

  • a higher development, uniformity, and homogenous structure of the active-humus layer, which, along with supplementary agrotechnical measures, enables basic cultivation at various depths;
  • the greater depth of the active-humus layer allows for the substantial absorption, retention, and accumulation of moisture from precipitation;
  • the deep development and suitable biological properties allow plant species grown on it to utilize beneficial content throughout the entire thickness of the active-humus layer;
  • the suitable mechanical composition and crumbly-granular structure have formed excellent soil porosity, allowing chernozem to have a high-value air, heat, and water regime;
  • the chemical properties of this soil are very favorable, exhibiting high carbonate content and larger reserves of phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and humus (humus in chernozem varies from 3.5% to 5.5% at a depth of 0–20 cm);
  • lower quantities of magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, and other yet insufficiently studied trace elements, through their presence, stimulate the development and yield of certain crops;
  • the biological properties of chernozem are also very favorable. Bacteria (with the highest representation of nitrogen-fixing bacteria) and actinomycetes dominate among organisms. Thanks to this, the soil has exceptionally active nitrogen fixation and ammonification. Microbiological activity is highest in the moist spring period when it is most needed. Among representatives of higher fauna, chernozem has the highest number of earthworms, insects, and springtails, significantly activating the physical properties of the soil.

Various types and varieties of chernozem are present in the following areas of the municipality: Bereg, Vanj, Ketuš, Stara zemlja, Veliki pesak, Mala ugar, Sr. strana, Šimuđ, Vranjevačke livade, Tomašval, Strnjike, Vodoplav, Orasi, Selište, Bika humka, Rutava humka.

Ritska black soil and meadow soil, with their types and varieties, are the most widespread soil types in the Novi Bečej subregion. They are predominantly present in the alluvial plain of the Tisa River and, sporadically, in wet depressions on the loess terrace. They collectively occupy 32.6% of the municipality's soil.

The formation of ritska black soil was significantly influenced by groundwater, as well as water that remained on the topographic surface for a longer period. Therefore, this soil is characteristic of wet and underwater areas. This soil has a poorer structure and is more difficult to cultivate. Humus content is lower, ranging up to 2%. In ritska black soil formed under the influence of high groundwater levels, the soil is carbonate. If groundwater is saline, soil salinization occurs. Ritska black soils formed under the influence of surface waters are non-carbonate, often throughout the entire depth of the humus layer. Due to insufficient humus and relatively lower fertility, fertilization is required to achieve satisfactory yields on this soil. In dry periods, during the summer, this soil lacks sufficient moisture, necessitating artificial irrigation.

Ritska meadow soil has a hydromorphic character. It formed in the Tisa alluvial plain due to waterlogging by groundwater and surface water. The clay content is higher compared to ritska black soil. In some places, ritska meadow soil is weakly salinized, alkalized, or slightly acidic. Due to the higher clay content, it is more challenging to cultivate and has less porosity and permeability. With fertilization and the application of other agrotechnical and agrochemical measures, it yields high crops.

Ritska black soil and meadow soil, with their types and varieties, are present in the following areas of the Novi Bečej municipality: Veliki i Mali rit, Jaruge, Krivaja, Kerektov, Rit, Korošar, Širine, Siget, Šuga, Medenjača, Lanište, Velika bečejska šuma.

Salty soils cover relatively large areas in the Novi Bečej subregion (26%). These are various genetic types of soil affected by salinization and alkalization processes. The accumulation of excess dissolved salts in our climatic conditions occurs when evaporation exceeds the total annual amount of precipitation. In addition to specific climatic conditions, other factors such as relief, hydrological, geological, and phytogeographic factors influenced the formation of this soil. In addition to shallow layers, soil capillarity is a significant factor in the formation of saline soils. For the northern and central Banat, and therefore the territory of the Novi Bečej municipality, aluvial salinization due to Tisa River floods is characteristic. The basic types of saline soils are solonchak, solonetz, and solod.

In addition to different salinity levels, saline soils have other unfavorable properties, poor mechanical and biological characteristics, and very low fertility. Therefore, only a negligible part of these areas is cultivated, and the rest is covered by pastures of varying quality or, in terms of production, abandoned areas.

Saline soils are present in the following areas of the municipal territory: Mlake, Izlaz, Livade, Selište, Matej, part of Šimuđ, Paktov, Pašnjak, Kopovo, Konice, Pustara, Crvene štale, Slatine, Pustara.

Alluvial soils occupy 9.2% of the municipal territory. These are young deposits of the Tisa River representing fertile and highly productive soil. The most represented crops in this soil are corn and various types of vegetables. This soil is present along the Tisa River in the following areas: Ljutovo, Libe, Biserno ostrvo, part of Medenjače.

For the narrower area of the Novi Bečej subregion, i.e., for the Novi Bečej municipality, the distribution of individual types and varieties of soil is established by areas as follows:

  • calcareous chernozem: Šimuđ, Veliki pesak, Mali pesak, Selište, Garaevac, Rutava humka, Bika humka, Bereg;
  • calcareous and non-calcareous chernozem, with signs of earlier barbication: Šimuđ, Rutava humka;
  • sandy chernozem: Peskovita humka, Veliki pesak, Mali pesak;
  • salinized and weakly salinized chernozem, with signs of earlier barbication: Selište, Vakant;
  • heavy ritska black soil and meadow soil: Veliki rit, Velika krivaja, Kerekto, Jaruge, Medenjače, Šuga, Biserno ostrvo, Šoljmoš;
  • ritska black soil and meadow soil - salinized or with saline spots: Velika bečejska šuma, Lanište;
  • solonchak: Matej, Konice, Kerekto, Peskovita humka, Pustara;
  • solonchak and solonetz: Crvene štale, Pakto, Mali pesak, Slatine, Prečka;
  • alluvium of different mechanical composition: Ljutovo, Libe, Karakter, Medenjače, Biserno ostrvo.

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