Main content area

Variability of soil physical quality and erodibility in a water-eroded cropland

Stavi, Ilan, Lal, Rattan
Catena 2011 v.84 no.3 pp. 148-155
accelerated erosion, agroecosystems, bulk density, clay, cropland, erodibility, hydraulic conductivity, nitrogen content, permeability, resistance to penetration, sand, sand fraction, shear strength, silt, soil heterogeneity, soil organic carbon, water erosion, Ohio
Physical degradation of the soil increases its susceptibility to erosion by water action. However, relatively few studies have evaluated the opposite, i.e., the impact of water erosion on soil erodibility. This study was conducted in a corn field in Ohio. Some sites within the field have experienced water-induced soil erosion following heavy rainstorms. Physical characteristics of the soil were compared between eroded (ER) and un-eroded sites (UN). Compared with ER, the soil in UN had lower penetration resistance (4.87 vs. 4.53MPa), bulk density (1.45 vs. 1.33Mgm⁻³), and sand content (17.4 vs. 14.2%), and higher shear strength (80.1 vs. 125.3KPa), hydraulic conductivity (3.0 vs. 3.4cmh⁻¹), intrinsic permeability (31.9 vs. 36.4×10⁻¹⁰cm²), and contents of soil organic carbon (36.1 vs. 32.1gkg⁻¹), total nitrogen (3.3 vs. 3.1gkg⁻¹), clay (25.2 vs. 24.2%), silt (60.5 vs. 58.4%), and very fine sand (3.4 vs. 1.1%). Also Munsell's variables differed between ER and UN (1.24 vs. 0.54 for hue, 4.59 vs. 4.35 for value, and 1.99 vs. 1.79 for chroma, respectively). The erodibility factor (K) was lower in UN than in ER (0.00327 vs. 0.00354Mghahha⁻¹MJ⁻¹mm⁻¹, respectively). Hence, it is suggested the ER sites within the corn field agroecosystem are more susceptible to accelerated erosion as compared with UN sites.