Land-use-dependent change in the soil mechanical strength and resilience of a shallow volcanic ash soil in southern Chile

Jose Dorner, Rainer Horn, Dorota Dec, Ole Wendroth, Heiner Fleige, Felipe Zuniga

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22 Scopus citations


Aquands are shallow volcanic ash soils, locally called Nadi, which cover an area of 475,000 ha in Chile and have undergone intensive land use changes from secondary native forest (SNF) to naturalized grasslands (NG). This study analyzed the impact of this land use change in a Nadi soil on the spatial changes in its mechanical strength and the consequences on pore functions and soil resilience. The change from SNF to NG occurred in 1980 because of a forest fire. We measured the volumetric water content and penetration resistance between 0 and 10 cm depth at 98 grid points across the domain (SNF and NG). Near each grid point, undisturbed soil core samples were collected to measure soil precompression stress (Pc), soil resilience after the application of mechanical stresses and water saturation via capillary rise, and the changes in air permeability (ka). After the application of mechanical stresses (to 400 kPa), the soil presented a land-use-dependent soil deformation and a limited, spatially variable soil resilience, which homogenized the ka across the field. Despite a bulk density of 0.65 g cm-3, these soils must be described as highly compacted and defined by high soil mechanical strength (Pc > 60 kPa) with small values of air capacity ( <8%) and permeability (<1 log μm2). To design proper schemes for land use planning of these specific soils, further analyses are required, as is a definition of a minimal Nadi soil depth to support a productive system without detrimental effects on the ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1064-1073
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Soil Science Society of America.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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