Special Issue "Soil and Water-Related Ecosystem Services"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Nadia Vignozzi Website E-Mail
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics - Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Via Lanciola 12/A, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Phone: +39-055-2492254
Interests: soil physics; soil porosity; image analysis; soil physical degradation; soil hydrological properties; soil conservation; soil management
Guest Editor
Dr. Maria Fantappiè Website E-Mail
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics - Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Via Lanciola 12/A, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Phone: +39-055-2482276
Interests: pedology; digital soil mapping; spatial statistics; geostatistics; soil organic carbon modeling; soil erosion modeling; soil database; GIS; soil surveying; soil classifying and correlating
Guest Editor
Dr. Simone Priori Website E-Mail
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics - Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Via Lanciola 12/A, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Phone: +39-055-2492256
Interests: pedology; digital soil mapping; proximal soil sensing; GIS; precision agriculture; soil management; soil restoration; soil suitability
Guest Editor
Dr. Sergio Pellegrini Website E-Mail
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics - Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Via Lanciola 12/A, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Phone: +39-055-2492254
Interests: soil physics; soil hydrology; soil structure; soil degradation; soil erosion; soil conservation; soil management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil is a key component of terrestrial ecosystems; the regulations regarding water storage, filtration, and fluxes are some of the most important ecosystem functions that are performed by soil. Soil protection and the restoration of impaired soil functionality are relevant issues in orer to guarantee water conservation, both in terms of quantity and quality. Increased climatic aggressiveness and inappropriate soil management systems are the main drivers of the physical degradation processes of soil (soil surface crusting, compaction, accelerated water erosion, and mass movements). Basically, all of these processes originate from the phenomena of soil structure degradation, and from the severe modification of the depth and natural organization of soil profile, which can induce an upsetting of the hydrologic equilibrium and an increase of the vulnerability of soil to water erosion.

This Special Issue will deal with the quantitative characterization of soil hydrological properties and processes, as well as the evaluation of different strategies aimed at preserving and restoring functionality in soils under different pedoclimatic scenarios and land management systems.

Specific topics can include (i) interactions between soil physical/chemical/biological, and hydrological features; (ii) soil degradation and water conservation; (iii) interactions between soil management and water availability; (iv) soil management in arid climates; (v) amendants used to improve soil physical–hydrological properties; (vi) and spatial variability of soil physical–hydrological features and site-specific management.

Dr. Nadia Vignozzi
Dr. Maria Fantappiè
Dr. Simone Priori
Dr. Sergio Pellegrini
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 papers will be 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 monthly 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 1600 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

  • Soil protection
  • Restoration
  • Water conservation
  • Soil management
  • Soil hydrology
  • Soil ecosystem services

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Comprehensive Performance Assessment of the Modified Philip–Dunne Infiltrometer
Water 2019, 11(9), 1881; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091881 - 10 Sep 2019
Abstract
This study aims at furthering our understanding of the Modified Philip–Dunne Infiltrometer (MPDI), which is used to determine the saturated hydraulic conductivity Κs and the Green–Ampt suction head Ψ at the wetting front. We have developed a forward-modeling algorithm that can be [...] Read more.
This study aims at furthering our understanding of the Modified Philip–Dunne Infiltrometer (MPDI), which is used to determine the saturated hydraulic conductivity Κs and the Green–Ampt suction head Ψ at the wetting front. We have developed a forward-modeling algorithm that can be used to simulate water level changes inside the infiltrometer with time when the soil hydraulic properties Κs and Ψ are known. The forward model was used to generate 30,000 water level datasets using randomly generated values of Κs and Ψ values. These model data were then compared against field-measured water level drawdown data collected for three types of soil. The Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) was used to assess the quality of the fit. Results show that multiple sets of the model parameters Κs and Ψ can yield drawdown curves that can fit the field-measured data equally well. Interestingly, all the successful sets of parameters (delineated by NSE ≥ the threshold value) give Κs values converged to a valid range that is fully consistent with the tested soil texture class. However, Ψ values varied significantly and did not converge to a valid range. Based on these results, we conclude that the MPDI is a useful field method to estimate Κs values, but it is not a robust method to estimate Ψ values. Further studies are needed to improve the experimental procedures that can yield more sensitive data that can help uniquely identify Κs and Ψ values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water-Related Ecosystem Services)
Open AccessArticle
Towards Economic Land Evaluation at the Farm Scale Based on Soil Physical-Hydrological Features and Ecosystem Services
Water 2019, 11(8), 1527; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081527 - 24 Jul 2019
Abstract
The economic evaluation of a land parcel is mainly based on the local economy, as well as on the topography, distance to the main streets, distance to the river, and presence of irrigation. Spatial variability of soil features and functionalities are often left [...] Read more.
The economic evaluation of a land parcel is mainly based on the local economy, as well as on the topography, distance to the main streets, distance to the river, and presence of irrigation. Spatial variability of soil features and functionalities are often left behind during economic land evaluation, probably due to a scarce awareness of soil function’s economic value. The paper shows an approach for economic land evaluation of irrigated croplands in the Po River plain (Northern Italy), based on spatial variability of soil functions, namely biomass production and carbon sequestration, as well as taking into account the river flood risk. The soil spatial variability was mapped using proximal sensing technology and few calibration points (one every 5 hectares). Biomass production of the main crops of the area, namely maize, soybean, and sorghum, was monitored and mapped for three years (2016, 2017, and 2018) using precision agriculture technologies. The results showed that the available water capacity (AWC) reached the highest correlation with biomass production, additionally, soil texture and cation exchange capacity were significantly correlated. Economic evaluation of the land parcels was computed considering the mean land market value of the area, the site-specific deviations due to the spatial variability of the biomass production by capitalization rate, and carbon sequestration soil functions, applying a natural capital approach by the mean annual value of the carbon market. This site-specific methodology could be applied to many other arable lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water-Related Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessReview
Wildfires in Grasslands and Shrublands: A Review of Impacts on Vegetation, Soil, Hydrology, and Geomorphology
Water 2019, 11(5), 1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051042 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Wildfires are prevalent in grasslands and shrublands. The objective of this study is to provide land managers with a general overview, by assessing the main impacts of wildfire, including those on plant communities (e.g., secondary succession and species invasion), soil characteristics (e.g., water [...] Read more.
Wildfires are prevalent in grasslands and shrublands. The objective of this study is to provide land managers with a general overview, by assessing the main impacts of wildfire, including those on plant communities (e.g., secondary succession and species invasion), soil characteristics (e.g., water repellency (hydrophobicity), aggregation and structure stability, and contents of organic carbon and nutrients), and surface processes (e.g., ash deposition, ground surface clogging, water runoff, soil erosion, hillslope debris flow, and dry ravel). Additionally, the study discusses the effects of livestock grazing on the functioning of post-fire grasslands and shrublands. Although mesic regions are mentioned, this review focuses on drylands. The comparatively low-to-moderate fuel loads that characterize grasslands and shrublands generate wildfires of relatively moderate intensity, resulting in moderate burn severity. Yet, it seems that because of decreased soil aggregate stability following burning, the hoof action of livestock that access burnt lands shortly after the fire increases the shearing and detachment of mineral material from the ground surface; this increases soil erodibility, with the possible risk of accelerated land degradation. The review ends with an assessment of general implications for environmental sustainability and health, and provides recommendations on wildfire control in rangelands, and on restoration of burnt lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water-Related Ecosystem Services)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Soil moisture dynamics on a Mediterranean karstic area: disentangling direct and indirect effects of climate and soil properties

  1. Rodríguez-Caballero1.2, Sonia Chamizo1, Luis Villagarcía3, Moro, M.J., Luna, L., Lázaro, R., Alberto Solé-Benet2, Francisco Domingo2 Yolanda Cantón1*,

1: Departamento de Agronomía. Universidad de Almería. Spain.

2: Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Almería, Spain

3: Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales. Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Sevilla. Spain.

Corresponding author: [email protected]

 

ABSTRACT

Soil moisture dynamics drive directly or indirectly ecosystems functioning and land-atmosphere fluxes of water, energy and carbon. The dynamics of soil water balance is very complex because of the variety of processes and variables involved and it is being exacerbated with climate change. A better understanding of factors governing the variability of soil water content (θ) in space and time is crucial to adequately predict the movement of water in the ground and in the interphase soil-atmosphere which is at the core of ecohydrology research. In this paper, we analyse the effects of the different components of the hydrological cycle (precipitation, runoff and evapotranspiration) and their interactions on soil moisture dynamics, and how they interact with soil properties, surface cover or topography. For this analysis we have used two years of soil water content measurements with a high temporal resolution from a flat area and a hillslope in a karstic mountain, Sierra de Gádor, which is the main recharge area of Campo de Dalias (> 20.000 ha of irrigated horticultural greenhouses) in Almería, SE Spain. We found that, at rainfall event scale maximum increase in q can be accurately predicted by antecedent soil moisture (qi) and rainfall amount and intensity, with a minor effect of water redistribution processes through runoff generation that mainly occur at the lower part of the hillslope where the soils have the lowest infiltration and the lowest unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. q fluctuated in close relationship with precipitation and followed a linear relationship with evapotranspiration for both high q and high potential evapotranspiration but the variance absorbed by this relationship decreases as q decreases, suggesting that plants compensate the lack of water in the shallow soil layers by exploring cracks in the karstic parent material; at least this occurs in summer. By applying structural equation models (SEM), we found that the effects of the different components of the hydrological cycle on q were also affected by a set of direct and indirect relationships between precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff generation and “static” factors that drive water movement in the interphase soil-atmosphere, especially during wet periods.

Key words: Soil moisture, hillslope, evapotranspiration, runoff, rainfall, Mediterranean.

 

Impact of various mulch types on soil properties of the Haplic Fluvisol

 

Lenka Pavlů 1*, Radka Kodešová 1, Antonín Nikodem 1, Miroslav Fér 1, Aleš Klement 1, Radek Prokeš 2

 

1 Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection, Kamýcká 129, CZ-16500 Prague 6, Czech Republic

2 Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Department of Landscape Architecture,

Kamýcká 129, CZ-16500 Prague 6, Czech Republic

* corresponding author: [email protected]

 

Mulching is a known technology used in agriculture and garden systems for centuries. The reason of mulch application is mostly a weeds reduction, and improvements of water or thermic soil regimes. Additionally, mulches are used as the anti-erosion soil protection. A long-term application of a particular mulch may lead to changes of soil properties. Impact of various mulches may differ. Therefore our study focused on the effects of the several organic materials (10-cm thick layer of bark chips, wood chips or wheat straw), degradable materials (three layers of cardboard, 200g/m2; decomposable brown foil Agrotex EKO+, 150g/m2; and decomposable matting Ekocover, 900g/m2), undegradable foil (nonwoven fabric, 50g/m2) covered by 3 cm thick layer of bark chips), and crushed stones (10-cm thick layer of basalt, diameter of 1.5 cm) on selected soil properties of the Haplic Luvisol upper layer, i.e., aggregate stability (expressed as a water stable aggregates index), chemical properties (pH, organic carbon content, humus quality), soil water retention curve (measured using the pressure plate apparatus) and both hydraulic properties (measured using the multi-step outflow experiment performed in Tempe cells). The experiment was carried out at 27 perennial patches that were covered by 8 different mulch materials and a control patches without any much (i.e., 3 replicates for each scenario) during the 4-year period.

Our results documented the significant time dependent changes of the chemical and physicochemical soil properties under different mulch types. The fastest response to the changes at the soil surface (i.e., after the application of different soil covers) was observed for the soil pH, which decreased during the first planting season. The lowest pH was under the decomposable foils (before their disintegration), probably due to a reduction of CO2 emission. After the foil disruption (after the second planting season), this effect vanished. The less evident changes were observed for the organic matter content and quality. The large effect of the mulching was found in the case of the aggregate stability. The increase in the aggregate stability was found under the organic mulches (straw, bark chips and wood chips). The higher aggregate stability indicates an improvement in a soil structure, reduction of soil disturbance, and thus increase of a soil resistance to erosion processes. The aggregate stability well correlate with the parameters of the retention curves (i.e., parameters of the van Genuchten functions and characteristics of their inflection points). The significantly higher and lower values of α and n parameters (of the van Genuchten functions), respectively, were found in the soils under the bark and wood chips in comparison with those under other covers and control. These finding indicate more gradual shape of the soil water retention curve under the bark and wood chips compared to those under other covers and control. The saturated hydraulic conductivities increased in all cases. The largest increase was observed under the layer of basalt and wooden chips. Both finding indicate the improved soil-water condition under these mulches. Generally, the results could be extrapolated from gardening use to general soil management and could be applicable in increasing demand for treatments that reduce soil erosion or desertification.

Key words: aggregate stability; soil hydraulic properties; soil chemical properties; organic material mulches; foil mulches; basalt mulch

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