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Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 368; doi:10.3390/su8040368

Using GIS towards the Characterization and Soil Mapping of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter

1
LEAF—Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food, Superior Institute of Agronomy, Tapada da ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
2
CIEO—Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
3
Área de Edafología y Química Agrícola (Facultad de Ciencias) and IACYS, Universidad de Extremadura, Avda de Elvas S/N, 06071 Badajoz, Spain
4
IPP—Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre, Portalegre, Praça do Municipio, 7300-110 Portalegre, Portugal
5
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 31 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract

The Caia Irrigation Perimeter is an irrigation infrastructure implemented in 1968. As is often the case, the original soil map of this region (dated from 1961) does not have the detail needed to characterize a relatively small-sized zone, where intensive agricultural practices take place. Using FAO methodology and with the main goal of establishing a larger-scale soil map, adequate for the demands of a modern and intensive agriculture, we gathered the geological characterization of the study area and information about the topography, climate, and vegetation of the region. Using ArcGIS software, we overlapped this information and established a pre-map of soil resources. Based on this pre-map, we defined a set of detailed itineraries in the field, evenly distributed, in which soil samples were collected. In those distinct soil units, we opened several soil profiles, from which we selected 26 to analyze in the present study, since they characterized the existing diversity in terms of soil type and soil properties. Based on the work of verification, correction, and reinterpretation of the preliminary soil map, we reached a final soil map for the Caia Irrigation Perimeter, which is characterized by enormous heterogeneity, typical of Mediterranean soils, containing 23 distinct cartographic units, the most representative being the Distric Fluvisols with inclusions of Luvisols Distric occupying 29.9% of the total study area, and Calcisols Luvic with inclusions of Luvisols endoleptic with 11.9% of the total area. Considering the obtained information on soil properties; ArcGIS was used to develop a map in which it was possible to ascertain the impact of the continuous practice of irrigation in this area. This allows us to put forward relevant conclusions on the need to access and monitor specific Mediterranean soils in order to mitigate the environmental impact of irrigation practices. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil classification; WRBSR—World Reference Base for Soil Resources; Mediterranean agricultural soils; irrigation soil classification; WRBSR—World Reference Base for Soil Resources; Mediterranean agricultural soils; irrigation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nunes, J.R.; Loures, L.; Lopez-Piñeiro, A.; Loures, A.; Vaz, E. Using GIS towards the Characterization and Soil Mapping of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter. Sustainability 2016, 8, 368.

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