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Soil water characteristics of european SoilTrEC critical zone observatories

Rousseva Svetla S., Kercheva, Milena, Shishkov Toma, Lair Georg J., Nikolaidis Nikolaos, Moraitis Daniil, Krám Pavel, Bernasconi, Stéphane, Blum Winfried E.H., Menon Manoj, Banwart, Steven A

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Year 2017
Type of Item Book Chapter
Bibliographic Citation S. Rousseva, M. Kercheva, T. Shishkov, G. J. Lair, N. P. Nikolaidis, D. Moraetis, P. Krám, S. M. Bernasconi, W. E. H. Blum, M. Menon and S. A. Banwart, "Soil water characteristics of European SoilTrEC critical zone observatories," in Quantifying and Managing Soil Functions in Earth's Critical Zone: Combining Experimentation and Mathematical Modelling, vol. 142, Advances in Agronomy, S. A. Banwart, D. Sparks Eds., Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier, 2017, pp. 29-72. doi: 10.1016/bs.agron.2016.10.004
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Most of soil functions depend directly or indirectly on soil water retention and transmission, which explains their importance for many environmental processes within Earth's Critical Zones. Soil hydraulic properties are essential in irrigation and drainage studies for closing water balance equation, for predicting leaching of nutrients, for water supply to plants, and for other agronomical and environmental applications. Soil hydraulic properties reflect the structure of the soil porous system comprising pores of different geometry and sizes. This investigation comprises a detailed analytical study of soil hydraulic properties and climate conditions at 18 methodologically selected sites in Damma Glacier, Slavkov Forest, Marchfeld, and Koiliaris Critical Zone Observatories of SoilTrEC project. The local moisture regimes were assessed on a long-term basis by the Newhall model. The experimental data for soil water content at different potentials were used for assessing water storage capacity, pore size distribution, parameters of fitted retention curve equation, curve slope at the inflection point, and water permeability characteristics of each soil horizon. The differences of soil water retention and transmission characteristics—as fundamental properties describing soil structure—were explained by the different stages of soil profile development, parent materials, organic matter content, and land use histories.