Predicting urban soil sustainability: Impact OG organic matter on soil water transfer

The physical properties of urban soils often limit tree development. Urban soils are compacted; as a result, waterand air infiltration are reduced. The available soil volume for root colonisation is usually limited by theunderground infrastructure. Exogenous organic matter has been shown to have a positive impact on the physicalproperties of agricultural soils. In some urban situations, the wide-scale availability of organic matter and theneed for important soil restructuring have led to the application of large quantities of organic matter.

Further Authors:
V. Forget-Caubel - Agrocampus Ouest, Centre d’Angers, France
C. Grosbellet - Union Nationale des Entreprises du Paysage, Paris
L. Vidal-Beaudet - Agrocampus Ouest, Centre d’Angers, France
V. Forget-Caubel - Agrocampus Ouest, Centre d’Angers, France

We studiedsoils reconstituted with high levels of organic matter, with the following aims: (1) measuring the effects oforganic matter decomposition on the evolution of soil physical properties, and (2) assessing the sustainability ofthe soil system by modelling water balance on a long-term period (i.e 20 years after the treatment was applied).Throughout a 5-year long experimental study (i.e: from 2005 to 2010), we monitored the physical properties -dry bulk density, soil water retention and permeability - of urban soils placed in 600-L containers. In addition,the soil volumetric water content was continuously measured with TDR probes. The top layer was a sandy loamamended with 40% v/v of organic compost – sewage sludge wood chip compost (SW) or green waste compost(GW) – lying on a layer of sandy loam. The control container was composed of two layers of sandy loam.Organic matter had significant effects on the soil physical properties compared to the control, with a bulk densityin amended soils. Organic matter modified aggregate organisation and pore distribution, which contributed to abetter infiltration rate. Within five years, bulk density in the top layer increased from 0.88 to 1.51 g cm-3 in SW,from 0.89 to 1.57 in GW whereas it increased from 1.25 to 1.55 to g cm-3 in the control soil. In the same toplayer, measured hydraulic properties, yielded a significant negative correlation between the hydraulicconductivity at saturation (Ks) and time. In the second soil layer, no significant change in the soil hydrodynamicproperties was observed.This 5-year long experiment made it possible to model the soil volumetric water content satisfactorily over time.The HYDRUS model was used in a first step for calibration, using data from 2005. Thereafter, it was validatedover a whole year, using data from the 2008-2009 period. These good simulations were confirmed by low rootmean square errors, whatever the treatment. Using the correlation equations described above, it was possible toextrapolate and estimate the soils’ hydraulic properties 20 years later. Then, we simulated the water-filled porespace (WFPS) in the three treatments, with the 2008-2009 climate database (reference). The control and SWtreatments displayed very low differences between the reference and 20 years later. The control treatmentpresented higher WFPS values, with an important risk of transient anoxia. Sewage sludge can therefore maintainsoil hydraulic properties over long periods of time. The GW treatment displayed the highest changes in WFPS –an average 10% during dry periods – induced by the decrease in total porosity from 47 % to 42% and in Ks from 3.4 10-6 to 0.92 10-6 m s-1. Thus, the stability of soil mixed with green waste can be questioned.



Copyright: © European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Quelle: Orbit 2012 (Juni 2012)
Seiten: 7
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 7,00
Autor: Dr. Patrice Cannavo

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