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Impacts of land use on hydrodynamic properties and pore architecture of volcanic soils from the Mexican Highlands

Abstract : Volcanic soils are important resources because of their unique mineralogical and physical characteristics, and allophanic Andosols represent some of the world's most fertile soils. However, their unique properties can be lost when cultivated. Most soils in the Central Valley, Mexico, are derived from volcanic materials. This valley encompasses one of the largest water supply systems in the world by volume, but is affected by soil degradation and deforestation. Sustainably managing volcanic soils requires understanding how land use affects their hydrodynamic properties. Gas adsorption and mercury intrusion porosimetry, water retention curves, tension infiltrometry and X-ray tomography were used to describe pore structure characteristics. Two volcanic soils (one Andosol and one derived from indurated tuff-Tepetates), three land uses (maize monoculture, maize-wheat rotation and fallow) and two horizons (Ap and A2 for maize monoculture and maize-wheat rotation) were studied. Tillage affected topsoil by increasing the sand fraction by 38% and decreasing total porosity and macroporosity by 23% and 40% respectively. Macropore size was reduced and the number of isolated macropores was higher in the tilled layer under maize, compared with untilled subsoil. The plot under maize-wheat rotation had lower allophane content, and saturated hydraulic conductivity was reduced by nearly an order of magnitude and water retention by half, compared with maize and fallow plots. Compared with Andosols, Tepetates showed differences in mineralogical composition with lower contents of amorphous compounds and in its porous network characteristics with twice the total and percolating macroporosity compared with the maize plot. Its high content of organic carbon (3.5%) seemed beneficial for its hydrodynamic properties. Sustainable agricultural management of these volcanic soils requires reducing mechanised tillage, avoiding periods when soil is bare, not applying maize-wheat rotation and applying maize-fallow rotation allowing natural vegetation growth.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 19, 2020 - 3:14:10 PM
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C. Duwig, B. Prado, A.-J. Tinet, P. Delmas, N. Dal Ferro, et al.. Impacts of land use on hydrodynamic properties and pore architecture of volcanic soils from the Mexican Highlands. Soil Research, CSIRO Publishing, 2019, 57 (6), pp.629-641. ⟨10.1071/SR18271⟩. ⟨hal-02458483⟩



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