Accurate monitoring and modeling of soil–plant systems are a key unresolved issue that currently limits the development of a comprehensive view of the interactions between soil and atmosphere, with a number of practical consequences including the difficulties in predicting climatic change patterns. This paper presents a case study where time-lapse minimal-invasive 3D micro-electrical tomography (ERT) is used to monitor rhizosphere eco-hydrological processes in an apple orchard in the Trentino region, Northern Italy. In particular we aimed at gaining a better understanding of the soil–vegetation water exchanges in the shallow critical zone, as part of a coordinated effort towards predicting climate-induced changes on the hydrology of Mediterranean basins (EU FP7 CLIMB project). The adopted strategy relied upon the installation of a 3D electrical tomography apparatus consisting of four mini-boreholes carrying 12 electrodes each plus 24 mini-electrodes on the ground surface, arranged in order to image roughly a cubicmeter of soil surrounding a single apple tree. Themonitoring program was initially tested with repeated measurements over about one year. Subsequently, we performed three controlled irrigation tests under different conditions, in order to evaluate the water redistribution under variable root activities and climatic conditions. Laboratory calibration on soil samples allowed us to translate electrical resistivity variations into moisture content changes, supported also by in-situ TDR measurements. Richards equation modeling was used also to explain the monitoring evidence. The results clearly identified the effect of root water uptake and the corresponding subsoil region where active roots are present, but also marked the need to consider the effects of different water salinity in thewater infiltration process.Wealso gained significant insight about the need to measure quantitatively the plant evapotranspiration in order to close the water balance and separate soil structure effects (primarily, hydraulic conductivity) from water dynamics induced by living plants.

Soil-plant interaction monitoring: Small scale example of an apple orchard in Trentino, North-Eastern Italy

Majone, Bruno;Bellin, Alberto
2016

Abstract

Accurate monitoring and modeling of soil–plant systems are a key unresolved issue that currently limits the development of a comprehensive view of the interactions between soil and atmosphere, with a number of practical consequences including the difficulties in predicting climatic change patterns. This paper presents a case study where time-lapse minimal-invasive 3D micro-electrical tomography (ERT) is used to monitor rhizosphere eco-hydrological processes in an apple orchard in the Trentino region, Northern Italy. In particular we aimed at gaining a better understanding of the soil–vegetation water exchanges in the shallow critical zone, as part of a coordinated effort towards predicting climate-induced changes on the hydrology of Mediterranean basins (EU FP7 CLIMB project). The adopted strategy relied upon the installation of a 3D electrical tomography apparatus consisting of four mini-boreholes carrying 12 electrodes each plus 24 mini-electrodes on the ground surface, arranged in order to image roughly a cubicmeter of soil surrounding a single apple tree. Themonitoring program was initially tested with repeated measurements over about one year. Subsequently, we performed three controlled irrigation tests under different conditions, in order to evaluate the water redistribution under variable root activities and climatic conditions. Laboratory calibration on soil samples allowed us to translate electrical resistivity variations into moisture content changes, supported also by in-situ TDR measurements. Richards equation modeling was used also to explain the monitoring evidence. The results clearly identified the effect of root water uptake and the corresponding subsoil region where active roots are present, but also marked the need to consider the effects of different water salinity in thewater infiltration process.Wealso gained significant insight about the need to measure quantitatively the plant evapotranspiration in order to close the water balance and separate soil structure effects (primarily, hydraulic conductivity) from water dynamics induced by living plants.
Cassiani, Giorgio; Boaga, Jacopo; Rossi, Matteo; Putti, Mario; Fadda, Giuseppe; Majone, Bruno; Bellin, Alberto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11572/116032
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