Soil erosion depends mainly on its intrinsic vulnerability (soil erodibility), which is represented by the K factor of the RUSLE equation. Soil erodibility is strictly related to soil structure, which depends mostly on soil particle-size distribution and organic and inorganic binding agents. Soil erodibility can be estimated through soil aggregate stability measurements. However, the effects of different humus forms on soil erodibility and aggregate stability are poorly understood. In this study, we evaluate the influence of different humus forms on these parameters, and consequently on soil susceptibility to erosion. In the Western Italian Alps, 67 sites were selected on different substrata under common forest vegetation types. In all sites, soil profiles and humus forms were described and classified. Soil samples from the upper mineral horizons (A or E) were analysed (SOM content, water aggregate stability that measures aggregates loss) and soil erodibility K factor was calculated. The results showed that surface mineral horizons in soils with Mor humus were the most susceptible to erosion because they had the greatest values of K and aggregates loss, and their surface mineral horizons were characterized by the lowest SOM content. Conversely, surface mineral horizons in soils with Amphi, which had the greatest SOM content, were the least susceptible to erosion, as demonstrated by the lowest K values and limited aggregates loss. Mull and Moder forms showed intermediate behaviours. Despite a similar SOM content as Mulls, Moders showed a slightly greater aggregates loss. At low SOM content, the aggregates loss increased but it varied significantly among the humus forms. In Moders, SOM variations induced large changes in aggregates losses while Amphi forms were the least influenced by SOM. These results show that the intrinsic characteristics of humus forms, derived from the biological factors to which they are associated, influence soil erodibility and aggregate stability and consequently soil susceptibility to water erosion.

Humus forms affect soil susceptibility to water erosion in the Western Italian Alps / E. Pintaldi, M. D'amico, S. Stanchi, M. Catoni, M. Freppaz, E. Bonifacio. - In: APPLIED SOIL ECOLOGY. - ISSN 0929-1393. - 123(2018 Feb), pp. 478-483. [10.1016/j.apsoil.2017.04.007]

Humus forms affect soil susceptibility to water erosion in the Western Italian Alps

M. D'Amico;M. Freppaz;
2018

Abstract

Soil erosion depends mainly on its intrinsic vulnerability (soil erodibility), which is represented by the K factor of the RUSLE equation. Soil erodibility is strictly related to soil structure, which depends mostly on soil particle-size distribution and organic and inorganic binding agents. Soil erodibility can be estimated through soil aggregate stability measurements. However, the effects of different humus forms on soil erodibility and aggregate stability are poorly understood. In this study, we evaluate the influence of different humus forms on these parameters, and consequently on soil susceptibility to erosion. In the Western Italian Alps, 67 sites were selected on different substrata under common forest vegetation types. In all sites, soil profiles and humus forms were described and classified. Soil samples from the upper mineral horizons (A or E) were analysed (SOM content, water aggregate stability that measures aggregates loss) and soil erodibility K factor was calculated. The results showed that surface mineral horizons in soils with Mor humus were the most susceptible to erosion because they had the greatest values of K and aggregates loss, and their surface mineral horizons were characterized by the lowest SOM content. Conversely, surface mineral horizons in soils with Amphi, which had the greatest SOM content, were the least susceptible to erosion, as demonstrated by the lowest K values and limited aggregates loss. Mull and Moder forms showed intermediate behaviours. Despite a similar SOM content as Mulls, Moders showed a slightly greater aggregates loss. At low SOM content, the aggregates loss increased but it varied significantly among the humus forms. In Moders, SOM variations induced large changes in aggregates losses while Amphi forms were the least influenced by SOM. These results show that the intrinsic characteristics of humus forms, derived from the biological factors to which they are associated, influence soil erodibility and aggregate stability and consequently soil susceptibility to water erosion.
Aggregates stability; Forest soils; RUSLE; Soil erodibility; Ecology; Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous); Soil Science
Settore AGR/14 - Pedologia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/874589
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