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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 3, p. 725-735
    Received: Mar 27, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): omarquez@ula.ve
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Aggregate-Size Stability Distribution and Soil Stability

  1. C. O. Márquez *a,
  2. V. J. Garciab,
  3. C. A. Cambardellac,
  4. R. C. Schultzd and
  5. T. M. Isenhartd
  1. a Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Ambientales, Universidad de los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela
    b Dep. de Física, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela
    c USDA-ARS, National Soil Tilth Lab., 2150 Pammel Dr., Ames, IA 50011
    d Dep. of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011


A new theoretical and experimental framework that permits an accurate determination of aggregate-size stability distribution is presented. The size-stability distribution in addition to estimating aggregate-size distribution distinguishes between amounts of stable and unstable macroaggregates (>250 μm). The determination of aggregate-size stability distribution involves the assumptions that soil aggregates can be categorized in terms of their size and water stability (slaking resistance). Experimentally this procedure involves the slaked and capillary-wetted pretreatments; and a subsequent slaking treatment of aggregates >250 μm in size. We also propose the stable aggregates index (SAI) and the stable macroaggregates index (SMaI) for studying soil stability based on aggregate resistance to slaking. These indices account for the total weighted average of stable aggregates and the total weighted average of stable macroaggregates, respectively. Both the SAI and the SMaI indices were shown to be sensitive to the effects of vegetation on soil stability under different riparian buffer communities. The SAI and the SMaI indices were higher in surface soils under cool-season grass than any of the other treatments. These soils samples are well aggregated with SAI = 74% and SMaI = 56% followed by SAI = 55% and SMaI = 37% under existing riparian forest, SAI = 40% and SMaI = 21% under 7-yr switchgrass and SAI = 36% and SMaI = 18% under cropped system.

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Copyright © 2004. Soil Science SocietySoil Science Society of America