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Soil water repellency in Mediterranean rangelands under contrasted climatic, slope and patch conditions in southern Spain

Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Gabarrón-Galeote, M.A., Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D.
Catena 2013 v.110 pp. 196-206
temporal variation, electrical conductivity, texture, shrubs, rangelands, soil organic matter, gravimetry, soil heterogeneity, bulk density, trees, rain, pH, soil water, soil sampling, soil texture, wet season, climatic factors, Spain
This study evaluates the spatial and temporal variability in soil water repellency (SWR) in two Mediterranean rangelands (with similar tree and shrub species) and its relationships to different eco-geomorphologic variables (climate, aspect, soil cover and some soil properties). Every month from October 2008 to May 2009 (rainy season), soil moisture and SWR was measured in field conditions by means of gravimetric method and Water Drop Penetration Test, respectively. Also, disturbed and undisturbed soil samples were taken to analyze some soil properties: bulk density, texture, organic matter, pH and electrical conductivity. The entire tests were performed in north and south aspect hillslopes and beneath shrub and bare soil in every of them. The results indicated that: i) climatic conditions seem to be more transcendent than the vegetal species for explaining the variability in SWR; ii) thus, SWR appears to be controlled by the antecedent rainfall and soil moisture; iii) more severe SWR were observed in patches characterized by sandier soils and/or higher organic matter contents; and iv) the factor ‘hillslope aspect’ was not found so crucial as it was expected.