Identification and Quantification of Water Flow and Solute Transport Processes in Agricultural, Natural and Artificial Hillslopes

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecohydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2023) | Viewed by 14436

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Soil Amelioration, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2. Future Regions Research Centre, Geotechnical and Hydrogeological Engineering Research Group, Federation University, Gippsland, VIC 3841, Australia
Interests: water flow and solute transport processes in soils; numerical modeling; vadose zone processes – soil physics; unsaturated soil hydraulic properties estimation; nutrient and pesticide leaching and modeling; preferential flow

E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Future Regions Research Centre, Geotechnical and Hydrogeological Engineering Research Group, Federation University, Gippsland, VIC 3841, Australia
Interests: rehabilitation; soil structure; soil hydrology; geomechanics; water balance; soil-plant-atmosphere interaction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hillslope landscapes are well known to present challenges for estimating the dynamics of vadose zone processes due to the variety of transport-related processes that are present, such as surface runoff; vertical flow; erosion; subsurface preferential flow; non-linear chemical behavior affected by soil structure, slope, and layering; evapotranspiration; erosion; slope stability etc. These processes are present in agricultural, natural or human-affected (i.e., artificial) hillslopes, and the various slope shapes (e.g., concave, convex) have a major impact on these processes. The quantification of hillslope processes is still very challenging, and its success is directly linked to the presence of topsoil and subsoil layer heterogeneity as well as the present plant species. These complex interactions result in nonuniform water flow and solute transport processes which cannot be easily assessed, even with sophisticated analytical or numerical methods.

The topic of the proposed Special Issue is left intentionally broad, as we would like to invite researchers from various disciplines (e.g., agronomy, geology and mining, environmental engineering, hydrology, biogeochemistry) to submit their findings or prepare review papers focusing on the challenge of water flow and solute transport quantification in various hillslope landforms in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum.

We strongly encourage the inclusion of both known and novel methodological approaches. These may include but are not limited to in situ and controlled conditions experiments; as well as analytical, modelling, conceptual and monitoring studies at various scales.

It is our intention to collate state-of-the-art studies and further improve our understanding of complex processes occurring in various hillslope landforms, and to find novel quantification approaches.

Dr. Vilim Filipović
Prof. Dr. Thomas Baumgartl
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • hillslope hydrology
  • vadose zone transport processes
  • contaminant transport
  • critical zone
  • subsurface lateral flow
  • preferential flow
  • modelling
  • slope stability
  • erosion
  • biogeochemical process

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

18 pages, 5975 KiB  
Article
Study on the Mechanism of Rainfall-Runoff Induced Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loss in Hilly Slopes of Black Soil Area, China
by Tienan Li, Fang Ma, Jun Wang, Pengpeng Qiu, Ning Zhang, Weiwei Guo, Jinzhong Xu and Taoyan Dai
Water 2023, 15(17), 3148; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15173148 - 3 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1279
Abstract
In order to identify the effects of the slope and precipitation intensity on the soil runoff depth and runoff rate, different tillage patterns (slope-ridge direction, horizontal slope-ridge direction, no-ridge farming) and different slopes (3° and 5°) were set up, and five typical rainfalls [...] Read more.
In order to identify the effects of the slope and precipitation intensity on the soil runoff depth and runoff rate, different tillage patterns (slope-ridge direction, horizontal slope-ridge direction, no-ridge farming) and different slopes (3° and 5°) were set up, and five typical rainfalls from June to September 2021 were selected, to dynamically monitor the soil-erosion dynamics of the test plots under different rainfall intensities. The results show that cross-slope-ridge cropping has a retention effect on runoff, which effectively inhibits the ineffective loss of rainfall confluence. Among these results, the variation range in the soil runoff depth under cross-slope-ridge treatment conditions was 0.11~0.94 mm, while that under the slope-ridge treatment and no-ridge treatment conditions was increased to 1.44~12.49 mm and 3.45~14.96 mm, respectively. It found that the loss of soil nutrients was significantly higher in the slope-ridge direction and in the no-ridge farming condition than in the horizontal slope-ridge direction. It is worth noting that, as the slope of the cultivated land increases, the erosive capacity of the precipitation runoff for the soil phosphorus increases, while the carrying capacity of the soil nitrogen decreases, and the correlation analysis results confirm that the corresponding relationship between the free diffusion capacity of the soil ammonium nitrogen and soil erosion is weaker than that between the nitrate nitrogen and soil erosion. The effects of single factors, such as the slope, ridge direction, and precipitation intensity of the cultivated land, have a significant impact on the soil water- and fertilizer-loss process, while the influence effect of the multi-factor coupling process on soil erosion is weakened. It was confirmed that the erosion process of rainfall runoff on soil nitrogen and phosphorus loss in slope cultivated land is the result of multi-factor action, and the artificial modification of the tillage mode can effectively regulate the effect of farmland water and fertilizer loss. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 12253 KiB  
Article
Soil–Water Dynamics Investigation at Agricultural Hillslope with High-Precision Weighing Lysimeters and Soil–Water Collection Systems
by Vedran Krevh, Jannis Groh, Lana Filipović, Horst H. Gerke, Jasmina Defterdarović, Sally Thompson, Mario Sraka, Igor Bogunović, Zoran Kovač, Nathan Robinson, Thomas Baumgartl and Vilim Filipović
Water 2023, 15(13), 2398; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15132398 - 28 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1308
Abstract
A quantitative understanding of actual evapotranspiration (ETa) and soil–water dynamics in a hillslope agroecosystem is vital for sustainable water resource management and soil conservation; however, the complexity of processes and conditions involving lateral subsurface flow (LSF) can be a limiting factor [...] Read more.
A quantitative understanding of actual evapotranspiration (ETa) and soil–water dynamics in a hillslope agroecosystem is vital for sustainable water resource management and soil conservation; however, the complexity of processes and conditions involving lateral subsurface flow (LSF) can be a limiting factor in the full comprehension of hillslope soil–water dynamics. The research was carried out at SUPREHILL CZO located on a hillslope agroecosystem (vineyard) over a period of two years (2021–2022) by combining soil characterization and field hydrological measurements, including weighing lysimeters, sensor measurements, and LSF collection system measurements. Lysimeters were placed on the hilltop and the footslope, both having a dynamic controlled bottom boundary, which corresponded to field pressure head measurements, to mimic field soil–water dynamics. Water balance components between the two positions on the slope were compared with the goal of identifying differences that might reveal hydrologically driven differences due to LSF paths across the hillslope. The usually considered limitations of these lysimeters, or the borders preventing LSF through the domain, acted as an aid within this installation setup, as the lack of LSF was compensated for through the pumping system at the footslope. The findings from lysimeters were compared with LSF collection system measurements. Weighing lysimeter data indicated that LSF controlled ETa rates. The results suggest that the onset of LSF contributes to the spatial crop productivity distribution in hillslopes. The present approach may be useful for investigating the impact of LSF on water balance components for similar hillslope sites and crops or other soil surface covers. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 11532 KiB  
Article
Using Dye and Bromide Tracers to Identify Preferential Water Flow in Agricultural Hillslope Soil under Controlled Conditions
by Jasmina Defterdarović, Vedran Krevh, Lana Filipović, Zoran Kovač, Vinod Phogat, Hailong He, Thomas Baumgartl and Vilim Filipović
Water 2023, 15(12), 2178; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15122178 - 9 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1470
Abstract
Processes in hillslope soils present a particular challenge for agricultural production and soil management due to their hydropedological specifics and high soil erosion risk. Soil heterogeneities can cause preferential and/or lateral flow on the entire hillslope resulting in the off-site movement of water, [...] Read more.
Processes in hillslope soils present a particular challenge for agricultural production and soil management due to their hydropedological specifics and high soil erosion risk. Soil heterogeneities can cause preferential and/or lateral flow on the entire hillslope resulting in the off-site movement of water, fertilizers and chemicals used in crop production. A study was conducted under controlled conditions in a laboratory with undisturbed soil cores (250 cm3), which were used to estimate the soil hydraulic properties (SHP) using HYPROP and WP4C devices, while undisturbed soil columns (diameter = 16 cm, length = 25 cm) were used for the evaluation of preferential flow pathways using potassium bromide and Brilliant Blue. Samples were excavated in triplicate from the hilltop, backslope and footslope regions within the inter-rows of a vineyard from a critical zone observatory, SUPREHILL, in Croatia in Dystric Luvic Stagnosol. The aim of this study was to determine if the erosion-affected hillslope position affected the physical, chemical and hydraulic properties of soil and to identify water flow and possible preferential flow using dye and bromide tracers. The results of the sensor measurements and estimated SHPs were in agreement, showing a faster leaching of the irrigated rainwater in the footslope column. The tracer experiments showed variability even in the columns taken from the same position on the hillslope, which can be linked to plant roots and soil fauna activity. Altogether, the results showed a deeper loose layer at the footslope as a consequence of the soil erosion, which then resulted in higher hydraulic conductivity and the leached mass of the bromide due to better soil structure and pore connectivity. Thus, due to significant differences in the leached mass of bromide, this research should be later expanded in field experiments to reveal the impact of surface runoff, subsurface preferential and lateral flow on a larger scale. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 6623 KiB  
Article
A Field Experiment for Tracing Lateral Subsurface Flow in a Post-Glacial Hummocky Arable Soil Landscape
by Annelie Ehrhardt, Sylvia Koszinski and Horst H. Gerke
Water 2023, 15(6), 1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15061248 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
Lateral subsurface flow (LSF) is a phenomenon that is widely occurring including the hummocky ground moraine landscape. Due to the heterogeneous structure of the subsurface, transport times of pesticides and nutrients from agricultural areas to adjacent water bodies are difficult to assess. Here, [...] Read more.
Lateral subsurface flow (LSF) is a phenomenon that is widely occurring including the hummocky ground moraine landscape. Due to the heterogeneous structure of the subsurface, transport times of pesticides and nutrients from agricultural areas to adjacent water bodies are difficult to assess. Here, LSF at Luvisol and Regosol plots of an experimental field were studied by applying potassium bromide along a 10 m trench below the plow pan in October 2019. The soil solution was collected in suction cups 3 m downslope of the trench and in April 2021, the soil was sampled down to 1 m depth. Almost no bromide was found in the soil solution except for the 160 cm depth of the Regosol plot after a 541 day period. After the same time, bromide was observed in the 90 cm soil depth directly underneath the application trench of the Luvisol plot. A 3D reconstruction of the subsurface horizon boundaries of the Regosol revealed subsurface heterogeneities such as sand lenses that might have been attributed to the heterogeneous subsurface flow pattern. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 7067 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Precipitation Fraction in the Soil Water of the Hillslope Vineyard Using Stable Isotopes of Water
by Zoran Kovač, Vedran Krevh, Lana Filipović, Jasmina Defterdarović, Borna-Ivan Balaž and Vilim Filipović
Water 2023, 15(5), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15050988 - 4 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1723
Abstract
This paper presents research related to the estimation of the precipitation fraction in the soil water of a sloped vineyard at the SUPREHILL Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) in Zagreb, Croatia. Numerous investigations have shown that exploration of hillslope soils can be very challenging [...] Read more.
This paper presents research related to the estimation of the precipitation fraction in the soil water of a sloped vineyard at the SUPREHILL Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) in Zagreb, Croatia. Numerous investigations have shown that exploration of hillslope soils can be very challenging due to the existence of heterogeneity and different soil properties, as well as due to anthropogenically induced processes, which can affect precipitation infiltration and soil water flow. Within this research, physicochemical soil properties, soil water content (SWC), and isotopic composition of soil water and precipitation (δ2H and δ18O) have been examined. The isotopic signature of soil water was monitored in 24 points, at 4 depths, throughout the hillslope vineyard. Soil water isotopic composition from all monitoring points coincided with the Local Meteoric Water Line (LMWL), with almost no variability at 100 cm depth, which was consistent with the smallest variation of SWC at 80 cm depth and indicated that most of water mixing takes place in the shallower part of the hillslope. Results suggested the existence of heterogeneity, uneven erosion processes in the footslope of the observed vineyard, and different infiltration patterns. Fractions of precipitation varied significantly depending on the depth and position in the vineyard, from approximately 1% up to 98%, where more precipitation fraction has been determined in the surface and subsurface runoff. Additionally, statistical analysis and a more detailed evaluation of precipitation fractions at the 40 cm depth, where wick lysimeters are installed, have shown that Corg content is related to the silt fraction, while the first results indicate that the infiltration patterns were dependent on the common influence of all observed physicochemical properties. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 6467 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Hillslope Vineyard Soil Water Dynamics Using Field Measurements and Numerical Modeling
by Vedran Krevh, Jannis Groh, Lutz Weihermüller, Lana Filipović, Jasmina Defterdarović, Zoran Kovač, Ivan Magdić, Boris Lazarević, Thomas Baumgartl and Vilim Filipović
Water 2023, 15(4), 820; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15040820 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2254
Abstract
Soil heterogeneities can impact hillslope hydropedological processes (e.g., portioning between infiltration and runoff), creating a need for in-depth knowledge of processes governing water dynamics and redistribution. The presented study was conducted at the SUPREHILL Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) (hillslope vineyard) in 2021. A [...] Read more.
Soil heterogeneities can impact hillslope hydropedological processes (e.g., portioning between infiltration and runoff), creating a need for in-depth knowledge of processes governing water dynamics and redistribution. The presented study was conducted at the SUPREHILL Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) (hillslope vineyard) in 2021. A combination of field investigation (soil sampling and monitoring campaign) and numerical modeling with hydrological simulator HYDRUS-1D was used to explore the water dynamics in conjunction with data from a sensor network (soil water content (SWC) and soil-water potential (SWP) sensors), along the hillslope (hilltop, backslope, and footslope). Soil hydraulic properties (SHP) were estimated based on (i) pedotransfer functions (PTFs), (ii) undisturbed soil cores, and (iii) sensor network data, and tested in HYDRUS. Additionally, a model ensemble mean from HYDRUS simulations was calculated with PTFs. The highest agreement of simulated with observed SWC for 40 cm soil depth was found with the combination of laboratory and field data, with the lowest average MAE, RMSE and MAPE (0.02, 0.02, and 5.34%, respectively), and highest average R2 (0.93), while at 80 cm soil depth, PTF model ensemble performed better (MAE = 0.03, RMSE = 0.03, MAPE = 7.55%, R2 = 0.81) than other datasets. Field observations indicated that heterogeneity and spatial variability regarding soil parameters were present at the site. Over the hillslope, SWC acted in a heterogeneous manner, which was most pronounced during soil rewetting. Model results suggested that the incorporation of field data expands model performance and that the PTF model ensemble is a feasible option in the absence of laboratory data. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

13 pages, 2040 KiB  
Article
Leached Copper Correlation with Dissolved Organic Carbon in Sloped Vineyard Soil
by Lana Filipović, Jasmina Defterdarović, Rui Chen, Vedran Krevh, Horst H. Gerke, Thomas Baumgartl, Zoran Kovač, Gabrijel Ondrašek, Stanko Ružičić, Hailong He, Jaromir Dusek and Vilim Filipović
Water 2023, 15(4), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15040800 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1814
Abstract
The solubility and mobility of copper (Cu) in soil is strongly influenced by the presence of dissolved organic carbon (DOC); however, the interactions between Cu and DOC are complex and not yet fully understood. In this study, Cu and DOC concentrations were measured [...] Read more.
The solubility and mobility of copper (Cu) in soil is strongly influenced by the presence of dissolved organic carbon (DOC); however, the interactions between Cu and DOC are complex and not yet fully understood. In this study, Cu and DOC concentrations were measured monthly for two years in leachates from self-constructed lysimeters installed at inter- and intra-row vineyard hilltop, backslope, and footslope areas at the SUPREHILL Critical Zone Observatory, Croatia. The aim was to quantify Cu and DOC leaching from the hilltop towards the backslope and the footslope. The assumed strong relationship between Cu and DOC in the leachates was statistically analyzed and explained using chemical equilibrium software. Leachates were analyzed for pH, EC, DOC, Cu, and major ion concentrations. The highest Cu concentrations found in leachates from the intra-row footslope suggested Cu downhill transport. Although not strong, a significant positive correlation between Cu and DOC in footslope leachates confirmed the relevance of Cu complexation by DOC. Speciation confirmed that more than 99.9% of total Cu in leachates was found as a Cu-DOC complex. Data implied the role of soil water flow pathways in explaining Cu downhill transport. Critical timing for applying Cu fungicides at sloped vineyards was highlighted. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 2266 KiB  
Article
Quantification of Intra- vs. Inter-Row Leaching of Major Plant Nutrients in Sloping Vineyard Soils
by Lana Filipović, Vedran Krevh, Rui Chen, Jasmina Defterdarović, Zoran Kovač, Ivan Mustać, Igor Bogunović, Hailong He, Thomas Baumgartl, Horst H. Gerke, Gurpal S. Toor and Vilim Filipović
Water 2023, 15(4), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15040759 - 14 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1906
Abstract
Nutrient leaching from agricultural soils presents an economic loss for farmers and can degrade the quality of the surrounding environment. Thus, leachates from 18 in situ wick lysimeters, installed at 40 cm soil depth at the vineyard hilltop, backslope, and footslope intra- and [...] Read more.
Nutrient leaching from agricultural soils presents an economic loss for farmers and can degrade the quality of the surrounding environment. Thus, leachates from 18 in situ wick lysimeters, installed at 40 cm soil depth at the vineyard hilltop, backslope, and footslope intra- and inter-row area (SUPREHILL Critical Zone Observatory, Croatia) were collected monthly over two years and analyzed for major plant nutrient ions. Our objectives were to quantify nutrient losses via leaching from the hilltop towards the backslope and to the footslope, and to compare leaching from vine plant rows (intra-row) with grassed areas between vine rows (inter-row). We found that the concentrations of nitrate, orthophosphate, and potassium were significantly higher in leachates collected at the footslope as compared to the hilltop and backslope only at intra- and not at inter-row positions, while ammonium was independent of the slope and row positions. The vineyard intra-row is identified as the probable spatial origin of nutrient leaching along the slope, thus confirming spatially different contributions of overall hillslope to major plant nutrients leaching. The experimental field scheme used in this study, which separately analyses vineyard intra- and inter-row, was confirmed to be an adequate approach for optimizing vineyard management practices. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop