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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Water Content, Bulk Density, and Coarse Fragment Content Measurement in Forest Soils


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 57 No. 1, p. 261-270
    Received: Dec 3, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. R. L. Fleming,
  2. T. A. Black  and
  3. N. R. Eldridge
  1. Forestry Canada, Ontario Region, Box 490, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada P6A 5M7
    Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of British Columbia, no. 139 MacMillan Building, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
    Faculté de Foresterie et Géomatique, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada, G1K 7P4



Measurement of soil physical properties in forest soils is often complicated by coarse fragments. In this study, a two-probe gamma-density gauge was used in a stony forest soil (Typic Boralf) to determine water content, bulk density, and coarse fragment content, and to calibrate a neutron moisture meter. Laboratory and destructive field procedures for gamma-density gauge calibration and a correction factor for actual tube separation distance were developed. The gammadensity gauge could be readily calibrated and provided good field estimates of water content, bulk density, and coarse fragment content in 5-cm vertical increments. Satisfactory neutron meter field calibrations incorporating soil density effects were obtained using gammabased water content measurements. However, differences in soil composition and water content in the sampling volume of the two instruments may confound neutron meter calibration. To overcome this, the use of additional gamma tube installations, a back-scattering soil density meter, or soil excavation were considered. The gamma-density gauge was used to determine site preparation effects on soil physical properties and soil water withdrawal in the seedling root zone.

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