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Spatial evaluation of soil salinity using the WET sensor in the irrigated area of the Segura river lowland

AuthorsPaz Bécares, José Miguel de; Visconti Reluy, Fernando ; Rubio, José Luis
KeywordsSoil salinity
Issue DateFeb-2011
CitationJournal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 174(1): 103-112 (2011)
AbstractThe electrical conductivity of the water within the soil pores (ECp) measured with the WET sensor, appears to be a reliable estimate of soil salinity. A methodology combining the use of the WETsensor along with geostatistics was developed to delimit and evaluate soil salinity within an irrigated area under arid to semiarid Mediterranean climate in SE Spain. A systematic random sampling of 104 points was carried out. The association between ECp and the saturation-extract electrical conductivity (ECse) was assessed by means of correlation analysis. The semivariograms for ECp were obtained at three different soil depths. Interpolation techniques, such as ordinary kriging and cokriging, were applied to obtain ECp levels in the unknown places. For each one of the soil depths, a model able to predict ECse from ECp was developed by means of ordinary least squares regression analysis. A good correlation (r = 0.818, p < 0.001) between ECp and ECse was found. Spherical spatial distribution was the best model to fit to experimental semivariograms of ECp at 10, 30, and 50cm soil depths. Nevertheless, cokriging using the ECp of an adjacent soil depth as an auxiliary variable provided the best results, compared to ordinary kriging. An analytical propagation-error methodology was found to be useful to ascertain the contribution of the spatial interpolation and ordinary least squares analysis to the uncertainty of the ECse mapping. This methodology allowed us to identify 98% of the study area as affected by salinity problems within a rooting depth of 50 cm, with the threshold of ECse value at 2 dS m–1. However, considering the crops actually grown and 10% potential reduction yield, the soil-salinity- affected area decreased to 83%. The use of sensors to measure soil salinity in combination with geostatistics is a cost-effective way to draw maps of soil salinity at regional scale. This methodology is applicable to other agricultural irrigated areas under risk of salinization.
Description10 páginas, 9 figuras, 6 tablas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jpln.200900221
Appears in Collections:(CIDE) Artículos
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