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Impact of land use on the hydraulic properties of the topsoil in a small French catchment

Abstract : The hydraulic properties of the topsoil control the partition of rainfall into infiltration and runoff at the soil surface. They must be characterized for distributed hydrological modelling. This study presents the results of a field campaign documenting topsoil hydraulic properties in a small French suburban catchment (7 km2) located near Lyon, France. Two types of infiltration tests were performed: single ring infiltration tests under positive head and tension-disk infiltration using a mini-disk. Both categories were processed using the BEST--Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer parameters--method to derive parameters describing the retention and hydraulic conductivity curves. Dry bulk density and particle size data were also sampled. Almost all the topsoils were found to belong to the sandy loam soil class. No significant differences in hydraulic properties were found in terms of pedologic units, but the results showed a high impact of land use on these properties. The lowest dry bulk density values were obtained in forested soils with the highest organic matter content. Permanent pasture soils showed intermediate values, whereas the highest values were encountered in cultivated lands. For saturated hydraulic conductivity, the highest values were found in broad-leaved forests and small woods. The complementary use of tension-disk and positive head infiltration tests highlighted a sharp increase of hydraulic conductivity between near saturation and saturated conditions, attributed to macroporosity effect. The ratio of median saturated hydraulic conductivity to median hydraulic conductivity at a pressure of − 20 mm of water was about 50. The study suggests that soil texture, such as used in most pedo-transfer functions, might not be sufficient to properly map the variability of soil hydraulic properties. Land use information should be considered in the parameterizations of topsoil within hydrological models to better represent in situ conditions, as illustrated in the paper. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 7, 2011 - 3:55:01 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 25, 2020 - 11:02:44 AM

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E. Gonzalez-Sosa, I. Braud, J. Dehotin, L. Lassabatere, Rafael Angulo-Jaramillo, et al.. Impact of land use on the hydraulic properties of the topsoil in a small French catchment. Hydrological Processes, Wiley, 2010, 24 (17), pp.2382-2399. ⟨10.1002/hyp.7640⟩. ⟨insu-00563929⟩

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