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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Promises of Hydropedology

Authors
item Pachepsky, Yakov
item Gimenez, Daniel - RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
item Lilly, Allan - MACAULAY INST., SCOTLAND
item Nemes, Attila - UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

Submitted to: CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Citation: Pachepsky, Y.A., Gimenez, D., Lilly, A., Nemes, A. 2008. Promises of Hydropedology. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources. 3(40):19.

Interpretive Summary: Soil and water are generally perceived as connected, but the sciences are somewhat distinct. There is a thrust to bring the science of soil and science of water closer by establishing a new discipline – hydropedology. Integrative studies are needed as a response to mounting environmental challenges. The mounting challenges in soil water resources demand a concerted scientific effort to predict and mitigate unfavorable hydrologic changes. Hydropedology is evolving as one of the responses to this challenge. The relationship between soil structure and soil hydraulic functions at different scales is the distinct focus of hydropedology that makes it a desirable development relative to its parent disciplines. Status and perspectives are reviewed for revealing relationships between structure of soil and soil cover, the ability of soil to supply water to roots and provide habitat for microorganisms, to provide optimal water supply to plants, and to remove excess surface water while providing the ground water recharge. Addressing soil hydrologic functioning at societally important scales can be achieved by (1) applying data fusion, e. g combining indirect data from different geophysical, biophysical, and remote sensing platforms, (2) using pedotransfer relationships between soil structure and composition and the ability of soil to retain and to transmit water, and (3) using different models in a concurrent manner. Hydropedology emerges as a logical consequence in the progress of water and soil science in response to societal needs.

Technical Abstract: Integrative studies are needed as the response to mounting environmental challenges. The new discipline - hydropedology - has been defined as an intertwined branch of soil science and hydrology that encompasses multiscale basic and applied research of interactive and hydrologic processes and their properties in the unsaturated zone. This review focuses at the relationship between soil structure and soil hydraulic functions at different scales, which is the distinct focus of hydropedology that makes it a desirable development for its parent disciplines. Status and perspectives are reviewed for revealing relationships between hydrologic functions of soils and soil structure at the aggregate/ped scale, the horizon/pedon scale, field/hillslope scale, and at the watershed/basin scale. Transcending scales can be achieved by acknowledging that relationships between soil structure and hydrologic functioning at a particular scale are controlled by such relationships at a finer scale and greatly influenced by those at a coarser scale. Addressing soil hydrologic functioning at societally important scales can be achieved by applying data fusion, pedotransfer relationships, and concurrent use of models. Hydropedology emerges as the logical consequence of the progress in science and as the timely response of the society needs.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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