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Journal Articles Science of the Total Environment Year : 2009

A snapshot of soil water composition as an indicator of contrasted redox environments in a hedged farmland plot

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Abstract

While soil water composition has long been recognised as being related to soil type (characteristics of the horizons), the influence of structures resulting from agricultural activities (hedges, ditches, wheel ruts, etc) is still under discussion. This work was undertaken to show that a snapshot of spatial variability of the geochemical characteristics of soil water at the scale of a plot can improve our understanding of soil geochemistry in a farmland setting. We selected a 3 hectare hedged plot located on a hillside, limited by a stream and used as pasture where soils have developed in weathered gneiss. The water depth, electrical conductivity, major ions, temperature, pH, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content, dissolved oxygen content, fluorescence, alkalinity, Fe2+, Mn2+, NO2−, Fe(III) and F− contents were measured in 62 auger holes randomly drilled on the site. Four sectors were identified in order to describe the distribution of the main geochemical parameters. Electrical conductivity and some major ions, especially sulphate, had larger concentrations near hedges where oxic conditions prevailed. These features were attributed to the impact of the linear anthropogenic network on the circulation of subsurface soil waters and evapo-transpiration and represent sector I. Dissolved Mn was an indicator of well channelled runoff subsurfaces facilitating the circulation of more highly reducing water (sector III), while DOC probably marked areas drained less well, with a prolonged contact time between soil solutions and organic topsoil horizons (sector II). The presence of dissolved Mn and Fe(II) indicates bottomland anoxic conditions (sector IV). It is concluded that a survey of the chemical composition of soil water may be a direct approach to show the influence of permanent structures on current soil properties and dynamics.
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Dates and versions

insu-00413682 , version 1 (07-09-2009)

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Patrick Albéric, Aurélie Vennink, Sophie Cornu, Hocine Bourennane, Ary Bruand. A snapshot of soil water composition as an indicator of contrasted redox environments in a hedged farmland plot. Science of the Total Environment, 2009, 407 (21), pp.5719-5725. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.07.005⟩. ⟨insu-00413682⟩
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