Spatial and temporal patterns of soil water content in an agroecological production system

Hugo Hermsdorff das Neves, Maria Gabriela Ferreira da Mata, José Guilherme Marinho Guerra, Daniel Fonseca de Carvalho, Ole Otto Wendroth, Marcos Bacis Ceddia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Spatial and temporal patterns of soil water content (SWC) can not only improve the understanding of soil water processes but also the water management in the field. The spatial distribution of SWC depends on the spatial variability of soil attributes, vegetation and landscape features. The aim of this study was to evaluate: i) the spatial and temporal variability pattern in an agroecological system; ii) understand the factors affecting the spatial variations of SWC; iii) determine if wet and dry zones conserve their spatial position; iv) evaluate the possibility of using this information to reduce the number of SWC measurements. The experiment was carried out in an area of 2,502 m2, where a regular grid with spacing of 10 m was laid out. At each point, time domain reflectometer sensors were installed at depths of 0.05, 0.15, 0.30 m to monitor the SWC for 18 days in 2014 (Jan, Feb and Mar) and 9 days in 2014/2015 (Dec and Jan). The SWC, at the three soil depths, followed a similar and systematic pattern, being highest in the deepest layers, and exhibited temporal stability. The correlation between SWC and clay content varied both with the depth and the magnitude of SWC. During the wet season it is necessary to intensify the sampling density to estimate the SWC, while during the dry season the Spearman rank correlation remained high indicating the need for a small sampling effort only. The driest zones tend to conserve their spatial position more for a longer period than compared to wettest zones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalScientia Agricola
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors extend thanks to the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Level Personnel - CAPES, under the Science without Borders Program, for providing funds through the “Special visiting researcher program” (number 152140). CAPESPVE-8888.030464/2013-01.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Scientia Agricola. All rights reserved.


  • Agroecology
  • Spatial pattern
  • TDR
  • Temporal pattern
  • Time series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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