The effects of soil properties and aggregation on sensitivity to erosion by water and wind in two Mediterranean soils

Smadar Tanner, Meni Ben-Hur, Eli Argaman, Itzhak Katra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Erosion by water and wind can seriously deteriorate soil quality. Traditionally, these two types of erosion have been studied and modelled separately. The main goal of this study was to explore the sensitivity of two Mediterranean soils to both water and wind erosion, in terms of their properties and aggregation. Targeted laboratory experiments were performed using wind and rainfall simulators. Different soil properties and aggregation indices were analyzed for each soil sample. Comparing the rates of soil loss to water and wind erosion revealed an opposite trend in soil sensitivity to these erosional forces; the soil that was most sensitive to erosion by one force was least sensitive to erosion by the other force. This indicates that soil erosion is strongly dependent on the erosive force (water or wind). Therefore, soil erodibility cannot be an unequivocal definition for a certain type of soil, but rather depends on the erosional force applied. Our results also demonstrate that different soil properties affect the size and stability of soil aggregates, controlling the rate of soil loss to water erosion or wind erosion. Under rainfall simulations, the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) was the main factor controlling soil sensitivity to water erosion (r2 = 0.76), while loose erodible material (LEM) was the only factor controlling soil sensitivity to wind erosion (r2 = 0.69). Since dynamic soil properties (e.g., LEM) tend to change over shorter periods of time than intrinsic soil properties (e.g., SAR), the potential for a general increase in the sensitivity of Mediterranean soils to wind erosion processes is expected to be greater than the potential for a general increase in the sensitivity of these soils to water erosion. The calculation of a sensitivity-normalized value for each soil sample revealed that the examined soils were more sensitive to wind erosion than to water erosion.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106787
JournalCatena
Volume221
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Mediterranean soils
  • Soil aggregation
  • Soil erodibility
  • Water erosion
  • Wind erosion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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