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Influence of Abandoning Agricultural Land Use on Hydrophysical Properties of Sandy Soil

Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences‐SGGW,Nowoursynowska 166, 02‐787 Warsaw, Poland
Water 2019, 11(3), 525;
Received: 23 January 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 9 March 2019 / Published: 13 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Hydrology for a Sustainable Land Management. Theory and Practice)
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Soil water repellency can significantly degrade its agricultural utility and bring about
negative environmental consequences (i.e., reduced infiltration capacity, enhanced overland flow,
increased erosion rates, and water infiltration occurred in irregular patterns). The presented study
aimed to establish whether excluding albic Podzols from agricultural production and their
spontaneous inhabitation by a pine tree stand affected their hydrophysical properties. Studies with
the application of the water drop penetration time (WDPT) test showed that a change in the land
use increased the potential water repellency of the surface layer (horizon A) and caused its
changeover from strongly repellent class (Class 2) to extremely repellent (Class 5). The relationship
between soil moisture content and wettability made it possible to determine the critical soil moisture
content (CSMC) for the occurrence of the phenomenon of water repellency. It was confirmed that
the CSMC value increased along with a change in use. For the site under arable use, it was 9–10
vol.%, whereas for the site formerly under arable use and currently covered predominantly by a
pine tree stand, a value in the range of 14–16 vol.% was reached. A laboratory experiment on surface
runoff of the soil formerly under arable use showed that over half of the rainfall may be transformed
into surface runoff as a result of occurring water repellency. This means that exceeding the critical
soil moisture content makes the recharge of soil retention difficult and may significantly influence
the water balance of soil, as well as increasing its susceptibility to drought. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil water repellency; land use change; agrohydrology; water retention; surface runoff soil water repellency; land use change; agrohydrology; water retention; surface runoff

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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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Hewelke, E. Influence of Abandoning Agricultural Land Use on Hydrophysical Properties of Sandy Soil. Water 2019, 11, 525.

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