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Soil property effects on wind erosion of organic soils

Aeolian research 2013 v.10 pp. 43
Histosols, Natural Resources Conservation Service, agricultural land, agricultural soils, dust emissions, linear models, organic matter, organic soils, particle size, prediction, regression analysis, sediments, soil erosion models, soil organic matter, soil properties, wind, wind erosion, wind tunnels, Florida, Michigan
Histosols (also known as organic soils, mucks, or peats) are soils that are dominated by organic matter (OM > 20%) in half or more of the upper 80 cm. Forty two states have a total of 21 million ha of Histosols in the United States. These soils, when intensively cropped, are subject to wind erosion resulting in loss of crop productivity and degradation of soil, air, and water quality. Estimating wind erosion on Histosols has been determined by USDA–Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a critical need for the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) model. WEPS has been developed to simulate wind erosion on agricultural land in the US, including soils with organic soil material surfaces. However, additional field measurements are needed to understand how soil properties vary among organic soils and to calibrate and validate estimates of wind erosion of organic soils using WEPS. Soil properties and sediment flux were measured in six soils with high organic contents located in Michigan and Florida, USA. Soil properties observed included organic matter content, particle density, dry mechanical stability, dry clod stability, wind erodible material, and geometric mean diameter of the surface aggregate distribution. A field portable wind tunnel was used to generate suspended sediment and dust from agricultural surfaces for soils ranging from 17% to 67% organic matter. The soils were tilled and rolled to provide a consolidated, friable surface. Dust emissions and saltation were measured using an isokinetic vertical slot sampler aspirated by a regulated suction source. Suspended dust was sampled using a Grimm optical particle size analyzer. Particle density of the saltation-sized material (>106 μm) was inversely related to OM content and varied from 2.41 g cm−3 for the soil with the lowest OM content to 1.61 g cm−3 for the soil with highest OM content. Wind erodible material and the geometric mean diameter of the surface soil were inversely related to dry clod stability. The effect of soil properties on sediment flux varied among flux types. Saltation flux was adequately predicted with simple linear regression models. Dry mechanical stability was the best single soil property linearly related to saltation flux. Simple linear models with soil properties as independent variables were not well correlated with PM10E values (mass flux). A second order polynomial equation with OM as the independent variable was found to be most highly correlated with PM10E values. These results demonstrate that variations in sediment and dust emissions can be linked to soil properties using simple models based on one or more soil properties to estimate saltation mass flux and PM10E values from organic and organic-rich soils.