Use of field and laboratory methods for estimating unsaturated hydraulic properties under different land uses

Abstract : Adequate water management is required to im- prove the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural sys- tems when water is scarce or over-abundant, especially in the case of land use changes. In order to quantify, to pre- dict and eventually to control water and solute transport into soil, soil hydraulic properties need to be determined pre- cisely. As their determination is often tedious, expensive and time-consuming, many alternative field and laboratory tech- niques are now available. The aim of this study was to de- termine unsaturated soil hydraulic properties under different land uses and to compare the results obtained with differ- ent measurement methods (Beerkan, disc infiltrometer, evap- oration, pedotransfer function). The study has been realized on a tropical sandy soil in a mini-watershed in northeastern Thailand. The experimental plots were positioned in a rub- ber tree plantation in different positions along a slope, in ruzi grass pasture and in an original forest site. Non-parametric statistics demonstrated that van Genuchten unsaturated soil parameters (Ks, α and n) were significantly different ac- cording to the measurement methods employed, whereas the land use was not a significant discriminating factor when all methods were considered together. However, within each method, parameters n and α were statistically different ac- cording to the sites. These parameters were used with Hy- drus1D for a 1-year simulation and computed pressure head did not show noticeable differences for the various sets of parameters, highlighting the fact that for modeling, any of these measurement methods could be employed. The choice of the measurement method would therefore be motivated by the simplicity, robustness and its low cost.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 11:23:29 AM
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S. Siltecho, C. Hammecker, V. Sriboonlue, C. Clermont-Dauphin, V. Trelo-Ges, et al.. Use of field and laboratory methods for estimating unsaturated hydraulic properties under different land uses. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, European Geosciences Union, 2015, 19, pp.1193-1207. ⟨10.5194/hess-19-1193-2015⟩. ⟨hal-01321229⟩

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