Document Detail

Salt leaching leads to drier soils in disturbed semiarid woodlands of central Argentina.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23015213     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Disturbances in semiarid environments have revealed a strong connection between water, salt and vegetation dynamics highlighting how the alteration of water fluxes can drive salt redistribution process and long-term environmental degradation. Here, we explore to what extent the reciprocal effect, that of salt redistribution on water fluxes, may play a role in dictating environmental changes following disturbance in dry woodlands. We assessed salt and water dynamics comparing soil-solution electrical conductivity, chloride concentration, soil water content (SWC) and soil matric and osmotic water potential (Ψ(m), Ψ(os)) between disturbed and undisturbed areas. A large pool of salts and chlorides present in undisturbed areas was absent in disturbed plots, suggesting deep leaching. Unexpectedly, this was associated with slight but consistently lower SWC in disturbed versus undisturbed situations during two growing seasons. The apparent paradox of increased leaching but diminishing SWC after disturbance can be explained by the effect of native salt lowering Ψ(os) enough to prevent full soil drying. Under disturbed conditions, the onset of deep drainage and salt leaching would raise Ψ(os) allowing a decline of Ψ(m) and SWC. Soil water storage seems to be modulated by the presence (under natural conditions) and partial leaching (following selective shrub disturbance) of large salt pools. This counterintuitive effect of disturbances may be important in semiarid regions where deep soil salt accumulation is a common feature. Our results highlight the importance of water-salt-vegetation coupling for the understanding and management of these systems.
Victoria A Marchesini; R J Fernández; E G Jobbágy
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-9-27
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1939     ISO Abbreviation:  Oecologia     Publication Date:  2012 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-9-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
IFEVA-CONICET/Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453, C1417DSE, Buenos Aires, Argentina,
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