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Soil water repellency assessment in olive groves in Southern and Eastern Spain

AuthorsBurguet, María ; Taguas, E. V.; Cerdà, Artemi; Gómez Calero, José Alfonso
KeywordsSoil water repellency
Crop management
Organic matter
Issue DateDec-2016
CitationCatena 147: 187- 95 (2016)
AbstractSoil water repellency (SWR) has been reported under different soils, land uses and regions of the world, particularly in forest land and after wildfires, yet the understanding of this variable in agricultural lands is still rather limited. This study presents the characterization from field-based measurements of SWR in four contrasted olive groves (Olea europaea L.) in Spain in terms of different environmental conditions and management: abandoned and commercial farms under permanent cover crop, conventional tillage and herbicide use. The main objectives were [1] to evaluate the potential occurrence, intensity and persistence of soil water repellency in different types of olive groves and [2] to explore its spatio-temporal features as well as the influence of soil properties such as organic matter (OM) and soil moisture. The Water Drop Penetration Time test (WDPT) was used in situ to assess SWR values. Measurements were carried out in two areas for each of the four groves: below and between the tree canopies. A high spatial and seasonal variability was observed. SWR was absent (WDPT = 0 s) for the olive groves under conventional tillage and with the lowest values of OM (OM-mean = 2.04%). The maximum WDPT values were found for cover crop under canopy in summer (WDPT-max = 610 s) and on the lanes in autumn (WDPT-max = 468 s). SWR was developed during the dry season, and to be reduced during the rainfall season as the organic compounds might be reoriented and turned amphiphilic. Strong water repellent values (> 60 s) were related with extremely high OM values (> 12%) for the cover crop orchard.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2016.07.005
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