Soil–Plant–Water Dynamics on a Field Scale

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 13420

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Applied Physics, University of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain
Interests: soil moisture; hydrogeophysics; soil hydraulic properties; salinity; pollutants fate and transport modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The biophysical interactions between soil, plant communities, and the atmosphere at the ground surface is a subject of the highest relevance for the future of our society. Water is one of the main vectors controlling this system. While water is essential for crops and plants development, its availability, both in terms of quality and quantity, is becoming more and more limited due to a conflict of interests between different uses under the perspective of increased risk of severe droughts. The role of spatial and or temporal variability of soil, plant communities, and the atmosphere in their (highly nonlinear) interaction and feedback is scale-dependent, and the attention given to each of these three components is, to some extent, discipline-dependent. Relevant work and reviews have been published in the topic lately. However, there are still some knowledge gaps that we pursue to overcome with this Special Issue.

This Special Issue encourages the submission of cross-disciplinary works aiming at studying any of the compartments of the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum or the system as whole. Advances obtained from this Special Issue will help to improve ecosystems functioning while strengthening soil and water conservation. The scale of interest for this Special Issue is the field or micro catchment scales, where operational conditions and relative relevance of the compartments may scale-specific. Research on the following topics (but not limited to them) is promoted: (i) optimization of soil–plant–water conservation and functioning; (ii) development of new or more up-to-date data collection strategies and model based now- and forecasting of the system; (iii) coupled monitoring of the soil–vegetation–atmosphere system; (iv) development and transfer of eco-hydropedological knowledge to system´s monitoring; (v) advances in the quantification and modeling of fluxes between compartments of the system; (vi) scaling (down/upscaling) of components; (vii) evaluation of strategies conducted to optimize soil and plants functioning; and (viii) effects of using alternative water sources on soil–water–plant relationship.

Dr. Gonzalo Martínez
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • soil–water–plant continuum
  • monitoring networks
  • spatial and temporal variability
  • scaling
  • water resources

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 8212 KiB  
Article
Soil Salinity Patterns in an Olive Grove Irrigated with Reclaimed Table Olive Processing Wastewater
by Karl Vanderlinden, Gonzalo Martínez, Mario Ramos, Ana Laguna, Tom Vanwalleghem, Adolfo Peña, Rosa Carbonell, Rafaela Ordóñez and Juan Vicente Giráldez
Water 2022, 14(19), 3049; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14193049 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
The agricultural use of saline table olive processing wastewater enables the implementation of closed water cycles in this socioeconomically important industry for rural southern Spain and relieves environmental, economic, and legal burdens. To allow growers to evaluate and guarantee adequate long-term soil and [...] Read more.
The agricultural use of saline table olive processing wastewater enables the implementation of closed water cycles in this socioeconomically important industry for rural southern Spain and relieves environmental, economic, and legal burdens. To allow growers to evaluate and guarantee adequate long-term soil and plant conditions when irrigating with such regenerated wastewaters, efficient soil monitoring strategies are needed. Field-scale monitoring with electromagnetic induction sensing, after one (2013) and five years (2017) of irrigation with regenerated wastewater with average electrical conductivity (EC) near 6 dS m−1 in an olive orchard in southern Spain, showed accumulation of highly conductive material in the subsoil in relation to local topography and soil characteristics. Laboratory analysis of the soil water revealed strongly varying patterns of EC during the growing season and across the olive grove, which were attributed to dilution and concentration effects due to rainfall and evaporation, respectively. Visual inspection and leaf analyses revealed no negative effects on the olive trees. Apparent electrical conductivity (ECa), measured in between the tree rows in 2013, showed a linear relationship with surface soil EC1:5 under the drippers and allowed identification of areas with high ECa in the low elevation zones of the farm, due to the presence of shallow perched saline water tables. A second ECa measurement in 2017 showed similar spatial ECa patterns and was used to estimate the distribution of soil EC across the soil profile using inversion software, although no unique field-wide relationships with soil properties could be inferred, possibly as a consequence of spatially variable soil clay and water contents, due to the influence of the topography. Despite the implementation of a more conservative irrigation strategy since 2015, results showed that the salinity has increased since 2013 in about 15% of the study area, with the largest increments in the deepest horizons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil–Plant–Water Dynamics on a Field Scale)
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18 pages, 4152 KiB  
Article
Physiological Activity, Nutritional Composition, and Gene Expression in Apple (Malus domestica Borkh) Influenced by Different ETc Levels of Irrigation at Distinct Development Stages
by Rafiya Mushtaq, Mahinder Kumar Sharma, Javid Iqbal Mir, Sheikh Mansoor, Khalid Mushtaq, Simona Mariana Popescu, Abdul Raouf Malik, Hamed A. El-Serehy, Daniel Ingo Hefft, Sajad Ahmad Bhat and Sumati Narayan
Water 2021, 13(22), 3208; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223208 - 12 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2562
Abstract
Managing irrigation efficiently is paramount given the uncertainty in the future availability of water and rising demand for this resource. Scheduled irrigation significantly influences vegetative growth through improving crop physiology and nutrient uptake and use efficiency. Influence of different irrigation treatments (100%, 75%, [...] Read more.
Managing irrigation efficiently is paramount given the uncertainty in the future availability of water and rising demand for this resource. Scheduled irrigation significantly influences vegetative growth through improving crop physiology and nutrient uptake and use efficiency. Influence of different irrigation treatments (100%, 75%, and 50% volume of Class A pan evapotranspiration) applied at four different phenological stages (flowering and fruit set (C1), fruit growth stage (C2), pre-harvest stage (C3), and throughout the growing season (C4)) through drip along with a control (rainfed) on leaf physiology, nutrient content, and uptake through gene expression was studied on Super Chief Sandidge variety raised on M9T337 (5 and 6 years old) grown at a spacing of 1.5 × 3 m (2222 plants/ha) under high density condition of Kashmir Himalayan range of India. A comparison of data reveals that drip irrigation at 100% Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) increased leaf area by 60% compared to rainfed conditions. Leaf area significantly increased in plants irrigated throughout the growing season (C4) and during flowering and fruit set stage (C1). Irrigation amount likely does not have any influence on leaf development after the fruit growth stage. Stomatal opening and their size greatly vary from no irrigation to optimum irrigation in these plants. High density apple trees exposed to optimum irrigation levels (100% and 75% ET) had significantly higher concentrations of nutrients (N, P, and K) in their leaf tissues. The concentration of Ca and Mg content in leaf tissues are greatly influenced by the optimum supply of water during the early growth stages of apple growth. The availability of water significantly influences nutrient transporter gene expression and thus nutrient uptake by regulating such transporter genes. It is therefore observed that proper irrigation during C1 and stage C2 stage are the critical growth stages of apple for optimum leaf physiological activity and proper nutrient uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil–Plant–Water Dynamics on a Field Scale)
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15 pages, 5031 KiB  
Article
Effects of the “Grain for Green” Program on Soil Water Dynamics in the Semi-Arid Grassland of Inner Mongolia, China
by Zhi-Hua Zhang, Hai-Ying Peng and Yuhua Kong
Water 2021, 13(15), 2034; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152034 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1964
Abstract
The Grain for Green Program (GGP) initiated by Chinese government significantly impacts mitigating environmental degradation. Soil water resources probably constrain large-scale vegetation restoration projects in arid and semi-arid regions. Characterizing soil water dynamics after the GGP’s implementation is essential in assessing whether vegetation [...] Read more.
The Grain for Green Program (GGP) initiated by Chinese government significantly impacts mitigating environmental degradation. Soil water resources probably constrain large-scale vegetation restoration projects in arid and semi-arid regions. Characterizing soil water dynamics after the GGP’s implementation is essential in assessing whether vegetation restoration can be sustained as part of ecological restoration. In this study, four sites were selected for field investigation: original natural grassland (NG) and grassland that was reconverted from cropland 12 years (12-year site), 8 years (8-year site), and 6 years (6-year site) before. Soil water at five depths was measured continuously at 10 min intervals at four sites. The findings showed that less rainfall infiltrated a deeper soil layer as the time after restoration augmented, and the 12-year site had the shallowest infiltration depth and soil water storage. Younger restored grassland (8-year and 6-year sites) had a higher soil water content than older restored grassland (12-year site) and NG. The soil water content decreased steadily with restoration age after an immediate initial rise, and the highest soil moisture was in the 8-year site. The results suggest that soil water dynamics varied with GGP and a soil water deficit could be formed after the GGP’s implementation for 12 years in semi-arid grassland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil–Plant–Water Dynamics on a Field Scale)
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17 pages, 18966 KiB  
Article
Soil Moisture Behavior in Relation to Topography and Land Use for Two Andean Colombian Catchments
by Henry Garzón-Sánchez, Juan Carlos Loaiza-Usuga and Jaime Ignacio Vélez-Upégui
Water 2021, 13(11), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111448 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2282
Abstract
Understanding the soil moisture behavior in relation to land use in tropical Andean mountain catchments is essential for comprehending water fluxes, ecohydrological relations and hydrological dynamics in this understudied ecosystem. Soils are a key factor of these ecosystems, especially in reference to water [...] Read more.
Understanding the soil moisture behavior in relation to land use in tropical Andean mountain catchments is essential for comprehending water fluxes, ecohydrological relations and hydrological dynamics in this understudied ecosystem. Soils are a key factor of these ecosystems, especially in reference to water level regulation and anthropogenic activities that can alter the interactions, and generate physical, chemical and biological imbalances. In this study, we investigated the relationship between precipitation, soil water content (SWC) and the flow at different pedon scales, and hillslope and microcatchment scales subjected to different land uses. The results showed the relation between the soils uses, topographical conditions and soil moisture at the microcatchment scale. At the pedon scale, soil moisture is higher and with a low variability in depth; high soil moisture content throughout the study period was registered in forest > pasture > coffee agroforestry systems. The topographic wetness index (TWI), despite its adjusted interpretation of the behavior of humidity at the microcatchment scale, is a poor predictor of the behavior of soil humidity at the pedon scale. Pedon water content has a close relation with the precipitation behavior, especially in prolonged dry and humid periods. The soils studied tend to present udic moisture regimes with a dry period of approximately 67 accumulative days per year. The mean flow behavior responds to precipitation and soil moisture behavior at a monthly scale. Understanding the consequences of the land cover changes in relation to soil water behavior, as well as how soil water interacts with the different components of the hydric balance at different scales, allows an understanding of the complex interactions in natural microcatchments under different land use systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil–Plant–Water Dynamics on a Field Scale)
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18 pages, 3269 KiB  
Article
Changes in the Soil–Plant–Water System Due to Biochar Amendment
by Ágota Horel and Eszter Tóth
Water 2021, 13(9), 1216; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091216 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2325
Abstract
The aim of this study was to do a complex examination of the soil–plant–water system and soil greenhouse gas emissions when biochar is applied to soil planted with sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. saccharata). The study covers two consecutive vegetation [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to do a complex examination of the soil–plant–water system and soil greenhouse gas emissions when biochar is applied to soil planted with sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. saccharata). The study covers two consecutive vegetation periods. We investigated (i) the changes in plant growth, (ii) soil water and temperature at different depths, (iii) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CO2 and N2O) after biochar application, and (iv) the soil water, chemistry, and plant interactions. We used discrete measurements for plant growth, biomass production, and soil chemistry, while continuously monitoring the soil water content and temperature, and the state of plant health (i.e., using spectral reflectance sensors). Plant response in the control plot showed higher values of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI; 0.3%) and lower values for photochemical reflectance index (PRI) and fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (fAPAR) by 26.8% and 2.24%, respectively, than for biochar treatments. We found significant negative correlations between fAPAR and soil water contents (SWC), and NDVI and SWC values (−0.59 < r < −0.30; p < 0.05). Soil temperature at the depth of 15 cm influenced soil CO2 emissions to a larger extent (r > 0.5; p < 0.01) than air temperature (0.21 < r < 0.33) or soil water content (r < 0.06; p > 0.05). Our data showed strong connections between GHG production and soil chemical parameters of soil pH, nitrogen, potassium, or phosphate concentrations. Biochar application increased soil CO2 emissions but reduced N2O emissions. Our results demonstrated that biochar amendment to soils can help plant growth initially, but might not result in enhanced crop yield. The plant parameters were substantially different between the investigated years for both control and biochar amended parcels; therefore, long-term studies are essential to document the lasting effects of these treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil–Plant–Water Dynamics on a Field Scale)
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11 pages, 6637 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Spatiotemporal Variability of Corn Yields Using Empirical Orthogonal Functions
by Seongyun Kim, Craig Daughtry, Andrew Russ, Aura Pedrera-Parrilla and Yakov Pachepsky
Water 2020, 12(12), 3339; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123339 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1778
Abstract
We used empirical orthogonal functions (EOF) to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of corn (Zea mays L.) yields at three hydrologically-bounded fields with shallow subsurface preferential lateral flow pathways. One field received uniform application of manure, the second field received the uniform [...] Read more.
We used empirical orthogonal functions (EOF) to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of corn (Zea mays L.) yields at three hydrologically-bounded fields with shallow subsurface preferential lateral flow pathways. One field received uniform application of manure, the second field received the uniform applications of the chemical nitrogen fertilizer, and the third field received variable rate applications of the chemical fertilizer. The preferential subsurface flow and storage pathway locations were inferred from the ground penetration radar survey. Six-year monitoring data were analyzed. Statistical distributions of EOFs across fields were approximately symmetrical. Semivariograms of the first EOF differed between fields receiving manure and chemical fertilizer. This EOF accounted for 52 to 56% of the interannual variability of yields, and its values reflected the distance to the subsurface flow and storage pathways. The second and third EOF explained 17 to 20% and 10 to 13% of the interannual variability of yields, respectively. The precision applications of the nitrogen fertilizer minimized corn yield variability associated with subsurface preferential flow patterns. Investigating spatial patterns of yield variability under shallow groundwater flow control can be beneficial for the within-field crop management resource allocation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil–Plant–Water Dynamics on a Field Scale)
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