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Water 2016, 8(5), 208; doi:10.3390/w8050208

Impacts of Floods on Organic Carbon Concentrations in Alluvial Soils along Hydrological Gradients Using a Digital Elevation Model (DEM)

1
Département des sciences de l’environnement, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, C.P. 500, Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 5H7, Canada
2
Géographie et Laboratoire de Recherche en Géomorphologie Fluviale et sols, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, C.P. 500, Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 5H7, Canada
3
Société Hydro-Québec, 75, boul. René-Lévesque Ouest, Montréal, QC H2Z 1A4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 6 May 2016 / Accepted: 10 May 2016 / Published: 18 May 2016
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Abstract

This study examines the spatial distribution of the organic carbon found in alluvial soils affected by successive floods. In flood zones, very little is known of the processes associated with the development of soils subjected to frequent flooding, in particular with respect to the accumulation of litter and organic carbon concentrations. The aim of this study is to better understand the distribution of organic carbon based on various hydrological gradients associated with flood recurrence. A digital elevation model was developed from LIDAR data to assess the microtopography of the site, and further delineate floodplains and no-flood zones. Various soil properties were considered in addition to organic carbon, such as pH, soil bulk density, litter, drainage, and topographic levels (elevation). The results show that the soils in the frequent-flood zones (FFz, recurrence of 0–20 years) have significantly less total organic carbon than the soils in the no-flood zones (NFz) and the moderate flood zones (MFz, 20–100 years). Average values obtained for the surface horizons (0–20 cm) vary by 1.74% ± 0.85% (FFz), 3.34% ± 1.09% (MFz) and 3.54% ± 1.77% (NFz), respectively. The absence of ground litter in the frequent flood zones helps decrease the input of organic matter in the surface horizons and progressively results in soil depletion. View Full-Text
Keywords: alluvial soils; digital elevation model (DEM); flood frequency; floodplains; LIDAR imagery; total organic carbon (TOC) alluvial soils; digital elevation model (DEM); flood frequency; floodplains; LIDAR imagery; total organic carbon (TOC)
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

Saint-Laurent, D.; Paradis, R.; Drouin, A.; Gervais-Beaulac, V. Impacts of Floods on Organic Carbon Concentrations in Alluvial Soils along Hydrological Gradients Using a Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Water 2016, 8, 208.

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