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Hydrology 2017, 4(4), 57; doi:10.3390/hydrology4040057

Spatial Distribution of Soil Hydrological Properties in the Kilombero Floodplain, Tanzania

1
Department ofWater Environmental Science and Engineering, Nelson Mandela-African Institution of Science and Technology, P.O Box 447 Arusha, Tanzania
2
Department of Geography, University of Bonn, 53113 Bonn, Germany
3
Geographical Institute, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, 55122 Mainz, Germany
4
Africa Rice Center (Africa Rice), 01 B.P. 2031 Cotonou, Benin
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 30 November 2017
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Abstract

Analysis and interpretation of soil properties dynamics is a keystone in understanding the hydrologic responses and yield potential of floodplain wetlands. This study characterizes the distribution and spatial trends of selected soil physical properties in the Kilombero floodplain, Tanzania. A total of 76 composite soil samples were taken from 0 to 20 cm and 20 to 40 cm depth in a regular grid design across three hydrological zones, related to flooding intensity defined as fringe, middle, and riparian during the rainy season of 2015. The samples were analyzed for soil texture, bulk density, organic carbon, and saturated hydraulic conductivity. Seasonal soil moisture content was monitored at depths of 10, 20, 30, and 40 cm, using 17 frequency domain reflectometry profile probes type PR2, installed at each hydrological zone for 18 months (March 2015–August 2016). Data were subjected to classical statistical and geostatistical analyses. Results showed significant (p < 0.05) differences in bulk density, texture, soil organic carbon (SOC), and saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) across the hydrological zones. Bulk density showed a clear increasing trend towards the fringe zone. Mean Ksat was highest at the riparian zone (69.15 cm·d−1), and clay was higher in the riparian (20.3%) and middle (28.7%) zones, whereas fringe had the highest percentage of sand (33.7–35.9%). Geostatistical spatial results indicated that bulk density, silt, and SOC at 0–20 cm had intermediate dependence, whereas other soil properties at both depths had high spatial dependence. Soil moisture content showed a significant (p < 0.05) difference across the hydrological zones. The riparian zone retained the highest soil moisture content compared to the middle and fringe zone. The temporal soil moisture pattern corresponded to rainfall seasonality and at the riparian zone, soil moisture exhibited a convex shape of sloping curve, whereas a concave sloping curve for topsoil and for the middle zone at the subsoil was observed during the start of the dry season. Our results are seen to contribute to a better understanding of the spatial distribution of soil properties and as a reference for soil and water management planning in the floodplain. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil properties; hydrological zones; wetland; soil moisture; geostatistics soil properties; hydrological zones; wetland; soil moisture; geostatistics
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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

Daniel, S.; Gabiri, G.; Kirimi, F.; Glasner, B.; Näschen, K.; Leemhuis, C.; Steinbach, S.; Mtei, K. Spatial Distribution of Soil Hydrological Properties in the Kilombero Floodplain, Tanzania. Hydrology 2017, 4, 57.

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