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Accepted, edited articles are published here after author proofing to provide rapid publication and better access to the newest research. Articles are compiled into issues at dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/sssaj, which includes the complete archive.

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Nouwakpo, S. K. and C.-H. Huang. 2012. A Fluidized Bed Technique for Estimating Soil Critical Shear Stress Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. doi:10.2136/sssaj2012.0056

Current issue: Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 80(2)


    • Zhongwu Li, Yinmei Lu, Xiaodong Nie, Bin Huang, Wenming Ma, Chun Liu and Haibing Xiao
      Variability of Beryllium-7 and Its Potential for Documenting Soil and Soil Organic Carbon Redistribution by Erosion

      Limited understanding of the redistribution of soil and soil organic C (SOC) within landscapes and their corresponding delivery ratios is available. To improve this assignment, the beryllium-7 (7Be) technique and a simple conversion model were used to estimate soil and SOC redistribution rates on a sloping cropland plot (5 m wide and 15 m long with a slope of 10°) in the hilly red soil region of southern China. Results showed that the soil erosion and deposition rates were relatively consistent with the magnitude of a rainfall event, and the estimated net soil and SOC losses were close to the measured values. These findings suggested the potential of 7Be measurements in quantifying soil and SOC redistribution patterns associated with short-term erosion from heavy rainfalls. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • The 7Be technique can quantify soil and SOC redistribution under short-term erosion.
      • The heavy erosion happened in the up-middle and down-middle location of the slope.
      • Depending on the weather, plowing can result in a substantial increase in erosion.

      Published: May 27, 2016

    • Woongsoon Jang, Deborah S. Page-Dumroese and Christopher R. Keyes
      Long-Term Soil Changes from Forest Harvesting and Residue Management in the Northern Rocky Mountains

      Soil changes associated with forest harvesting, differing utilization levels, and post-harvest prescribed burning were determined using an empirical study to investigate the long-term impacts on soil physical and chemical properties at Coram Experimental Forest in northwestern Montana. In 1974, two replications of three regeneration cuttings (shelterwood, group selection, and clearcut) were installed. In addition, four residue management regimes (high utilization with no burning, medium with no burning, medium with broadcast burning, and low with broadcast burning) were implemented (∼74, 63, 65, and 54% wood removal, respectively). Thirty-eight years after harvesting, changes were evaluated in mineral soil and forest floor physical and chemical properties (organic matter [OM], C, N, Ca, K, and Mg pools, soil bulk density, and pH) and in coarse woody debris levels. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Long-term (38 yr) soil changes after woody residue management were evaluated.
      • There were no differences in soil physical and chemical properties.
      • Differences in extractable cation pools may be due to different vegetation litter inputs.

      Published: May 27, 2016

    • Youzhi Han, Jianwei Zhang, Kim G. Mattson, Weidong Zhang and Thomas A. Weber
      Sample Sizes to Control Error Estimates in Determining Soil Bulk Density in California Forest Soils

      Characterizing forest soil properties with high variability is challenging, sometimes requiring large numbers of soil samples. Soil bulk density is a standard variable needed along with element concentrations to calculate nutrient pools. This study aimed to determine the optimal sample size, the number of observation (n), for predicting the soil bulk density with a precision of ±10% at a 95% confidence level among different soil types. We determined soil bulk density samples at three depths at 186 points distributed over three different 1-ha forest sites. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Sample sizes varied from 3 to 17 to achieve ±10% error at a 95% confidence level.
      • Bootstrapping is more robust for estimating sample size than the traditional method.
      • Soil variability must be considered before sampling.

      Published: April 22, 2016

    • Mirko Castellini, Massimo Iovino, Mario Pirastru, Marcello Niedda and Vincenzo Bagarello
      Use of BEST Procedure to Assess Soil Physical Quality in the Baratz Lake Catchment (Sardinia, Italy)

      Conversion of Mediterranean maquis and/or natural forest into agro-pastoral lands is a cause of soil degradation in many Mediterranean areas. Indicators of soil physical quality (SPQ) quantitatively linked to soil hydraulic properties are a valuable tool to assess the effect of land use changes. In this investigation, the Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer parameters (BEST) procedure for soil hydraulic characterization was used to estimate SPQ indicators. Four areas of the Baratz Lake watershed, Sardinia, Italy, characterized by both typical natural vegetation (holm oak [Quercus ilex L.] forest and high maquis) and degraded vegetation (grassland established after fire or clearing of the maquis) were considered. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Soil physical quality (SPQ) of four areas with Mediterranean vegetation was evaluated.
      • BEST procedure was tested to evaluate SPQ and detect signs of soil degradation.
      • Independently measured indicators of SPQ were compared with those derived by BEST.
      • BEST reproduced plausible SPQ evaluation.
      • BEST is a promising technique to simply detect land degradation in natural environments.

      Published: April 22, 2016


    • Travis W. Shaddox, J. Bryan Unruh, Jason K. Kruse and Natasha G. Restuccia
      Solubility of Iron, Manganese, and Magnesium Sulfates and Glucoheptonates in Two Alkaline Soils

      Sulfate and glucoheptonate forms of Fe, Mn, and Mg are commonly applied to horticultural and agricultural crops. Once these metals enter the soil solution, their solubility may be limited. Glucoheptonate may prolong soil solubility, but its influence in alkaline soils has not been documented. The objective of this study was to determine the solubility of Fe, Mn, and Mg sulfates and glucoheptonates in two alkaline soils. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Iron, Mn, and Mg solubility decreased in as short a time as 1 h.
      • Mg declined only by 10% in 3 wk, but Fe was 93% or more insoluble in 1 h.
      • Glucoheptonate did not increase solubility compared with sulfate in alkaline soils.

      Published: May 27, 2016


    • Ashlee L. Dere, Timothy S. White, Richard H. April and Susan L. Brantley
      Mineralogical Transformations and Soil Development in Shale across a Latitudinal Climosequence

      To investigate factors controlling soil formation, we established a climosequence as part of the Susquehanna-Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO) in central Pennsylvania, USA. Sites were located on organic matter-poor, iron-rich Silurian-aged shale in Wales, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Puerto Rico, although this last site is underlain by a younger shale. Across the climosequence, mean annual temperature (MAT) increases from 7 to 24°C and mean annual precipitation (MAP) ranges from 100 to 250 cm. Variations in soil characteristics along the climosequence, including depth, morphology, particle-size distribution, geochemistry, and bulk and clay mineralogy, were characterized to investigate the role of climate in controlling mineral transformations and soil formation. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Detailed characterization of the morphology, geochemistry, and mineralogy of shale-derived soils across a climosequence documents enhanced weathering and soil development with increasingly warm and wet climates.
      • The deepest weathering reaction observed in the regolith across the shale climosequence was plagioclase feldspar dissolution, which may be the profile initiating reaction that begins the transformation of shale bedrock to weathered regolith.
      • The abundance of chlorite and its transformation to vermiculite and HIV are more likely controlling regolith thickness in these soils.

      Published: April 22, 2016

    • Lin Yang, Feng Qi, A-Xing Zhu, Jingjing Shi and Yiming An
      Evaluation of Integrative Hierarchical Stepwise Sampling for Digital Soil Mapping

      This paper presents an integrative hierarchical stepwise sampling (IHS) method and two case studies to compare it with stratified random sampling (SRS) and conditioned Latin hypercube sampling (cLHS). The first comparison between IHS and SRS was conducted for mapping sand content of two soil layers in a study area in Anhui Province, China. Two sample sets of the same sample size were collected in the field based on IHS and SRS. The second case study is a simulation study, where we compared IHS and cLHS for mapping soil series in the Raffelson watershed in Wisconsin (USA). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Evaluation of an integrative hierarchical stepwise (IHS) sampling method by comparing it with stratified random sampling (SRS) and conditioned Latin hypercube sampling (cLHS) through two case studies.
      • IHS obtained higher mapping accuracies than SRS and cLHS at nearly all sample sizes.
      • IHS provides valuable information on the representativeness of samples.
      • SRS and cLHS were found to generate unstable results on sample sets and soil maps.

      Published: April 22, 2016

    • Miguel Lopo, Ricardo N.M.J. Páscoa, António R. Graça and João A. Lopes
      Classification of Vineyard Soils Using Portable and Benchtop Near-Infrared Spectrometers: A Comparative Study

      Soils characterization is often accomplished by means of extensive field observations followed by laboratory analysis, which is extremely time consuming and can be prohibitively expensive. Trying to address this issue, there is growing interest in using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy as a rapid and cost-effective tool for the prediction of a soil’s physical, biological, and chemical properties. This method is nondestructive and provides spectra highly characteristic of soil properties and composition, enabling the analysis of many soil properties with a single measurement. The purpose of this study was to compare the quality of in situ measurements between a dispersive NIR (portable) spectrometer with a benchtop Fourier-transform NIR instrument (laboratory), thus investigating the potential of NIRS as a rapid and low-cost technique to map vineyard soils both in the field and in the laboratory. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Vineyard soils were classified using near-infrared spectroscopy.
      • NIRS can be a valuable tool in vineyard management both in situ and in the laboratory.
      • Its application extends to other types of agricultural fields.

      Published: April 15, 2016


    • Jorge Álvaro-Fuentes, José Luis Arrúe, Carlos Cantero-Martínez, Ramón Isla, Daniel Plaza-Bonilla and Dolores Quílez
      Fertilization Scenarios in Sprinkler-Irrigated Corn under Mediterranean Conditions: Effects on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

      Agricultural soils emit greenhouse gases (GHG). Excessive application of N fertilizer may lead to the accumulation of mineral N in the soil, which is susceptible to loss to the environment. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of two levels of available mineral N before planting (L, low; H, high) and two rates of NH4NO3 fertilizer (0 and 300 kg N ha−1) on soil CH4, CO2, and N2O emissions in a sprinkler-irrigated corn (Zea mays L.) field located in northeastern Spain during two growing seasons (2011 and 2012). For both soil N levels at planting, several sampling dates showed higher N2O emissions in the 300 kg N ha−1 treatment than the 0 kg N ha−1 treatment. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Soil GHG emissions were quantified in four fertilization scenarios in irrigated corn.
      • Fertilization scenarios had minor effect on CO2 and CH4 emissions.
      • Soil mineral N level affected N2O emissions and yield-scaled N2O emissions.

      Published: May 13, 2016

    • Jian Wang, Dexter B. Watts, Qinqian Meng, Qingfeng Zhang and Thomas R. Way
      Influence of Surface Crusting on Infiltration of a Loess Plateau Soil

      Crusting frequently occurs on farmland soil of the Loess Plateau in China and often adversely affects agricultural yields. Therefore, a study was conducted to evaluate the occurrence of soil crusting and its influence on infiltration in a Loess Plateau silt loam soil. Simulated rainfall events were conducted at two intensities (0.67 and 1.33 mm min−1) on four slopes (5, 9, 18, and 29%) under two soil conditions (crusted and uncrusted). Infiltration was evaluated as the difference between precipitation applied and water lost to runoff. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Soil crusting and surface sealing often adversely affect agricultural yields.
      • A modified Green–Ampt model was evaluated for predicting infiltration of crusted soil.
      • The model provided a good estimate of soil crusting’s influence on infiltration.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Zehao Zheng, Brenton Sharratt, Gary Feng, Xinhu Li and Huawei Pi
      Wind Erosion of Cropland in the Northwestern Tarim Basin

      The Aksu region within the Tarim Basin is a major source of windblown dust in China due to the arid climate and vast areas under intensive irrigated crop production. Despite the importance of crop production to human subsistence and the local economy, little is known about the amount of soil eroded by wind from agricultural lands in the region. Passive aeolian sediment collectors were used to measure soil loss from an irrigated cotton (Gossypium spp.) field and red date (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) orchard in the Aksu Oasis during high wind events in 2012 and 2013. Mass of sediment trapped by the collectors was best described as a power function of height above the surface in the cotton field and red date orchard. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • The Tarim Basin is a major source of windblown dust in Asia and China.
      • No studies have previously documented wind erosion from cropland in Tarim Basin.
      • Wind erosion was measured from an irrigated cotton field and red date orchard.
      • Wind erosion from cropland is lower than from China’s deserts.
      • Management practices must be developed to control wind erosion in Tarim Basin.

      Published: April 29, 2016

    • Brenton Sharratt and William F. Schillinger
      Soil Characteristics and Wind Erosion Potential of Wheat–Oilseed–Fallow Cropping Systems

      Oilseeds are integral to the production of biofuels and diversifying rainfed cropping systems in the US Pacific Northwest (PNW). However, there is evidence to suggest greater potential for wind erosion when growing oilseeds in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) rotations. Little is known concerning the impact of growing oilseeds on the soil surface characteristics that affect erosion. Soil characteristics were examined during the fallow phase of three crop rotations: (i) winter wheat–summer fallow (WW-SF), (ii) winter wheat–camelina (Camelina sativa L. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Oilseeds are integral in producing biofuel in the Pacific Northwest.
      • Wind erosion may escalate as a result of growing oilseeds in rotation with wheat.
      • The impact of oilseeds on soil properties that govern wind erosion is largely unknown.
      • Oilseeds resulted in less residue biomass and cover than conventional wheat rotations.
      • Oilseed crop residue must be carefully managed to minimize wind erosion.

      Published: April 22, 2016


    • Cassio A. Tormena, Douglas L. Karlen, Sally Logsdon and Maurício R. Cherubin
      Visual Soil Structure Effects of Tillage and Corn Stover Harvest in Iowa

      High levels of corn (Zea mays L.) stover harvest for ethanol production have raised concerns regarding negative consequences on soil structure and physical quality. Visual soil structure assessment methods have the potential to help address these concerns through simple, straightforward on-farm evaluations. Our objective was to determine if the visual evaluation of soil structure (VESS) approach could detect soil structural quality differences associated with different levels of corn stover harvest and tillage practices. We evaluated no harvest and moderate and high stover harvest levels within no-tillage (NT) and chisel plow (CP) plots following 7 yr of continuous corn. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • VESS detected soil structural quality changes under corn stover harvest and tillage systems.
      • A high level of corn stover harvest had an adverse effect on the soil structural quality.
      • Under high stover harvest, structural quality in chisel plow was worse than in no-tillage.
      • VESS should be further evaluated as an integrative soil quality/health indicator.

      Published: May 27, 2016


    • Baljeet Singh, Annemieke Farenhorst, Ross McQueen and Diane F. Malley
      Near-Infrared Spectroscopy as a Tool for Generating Sorption Input Parameters for Pesticide Fate Modeling

      Sorption parameters (such as Kd values) are among the most sensitive input parameters in pesticide fate models. This study demonstrates that near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), in combination with batch equilibrium techniques, can be used to estimate Kd values, thereby increasing throughput of the many samples required to characterize spatial variability of pesticide sorption within fields. The Pesticide Root Zone Model version 3.12.2 (PRZM-3) was used to compare scenarios that used NIRS spectral data, pedotransfer functions, and batch equilibrium methods as inputs for the calculation of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and atrazine leaching in 591 soil horizons. Based on the 3564 simulation runs conducted, we concluded that the added benefit of NIRS is most useful when the pesticides under study have small sorption potentials and short half-lives in soil. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • NIRS can be integrated with pesticide fate models using a test set method.
      • NIRS calibrations are most successful for pesticides with smaller Kd values.
      • Regional scale NIRS calibrations are most successful if developed on data sets of similar Kd value range.

      Published: May 27, 2016


    • Katja Walter, Axel Don, Bärbel Tiemeyer and Annette Freibauer
      Determining Soil Bulk Density for Carbon Stock Calculations: A Systematic Method Comparison

      Accurate and effective determination of soil bulk density (BD) is needed to monitor soil organic C (SOC) stocks and SOC stock changes. However, BD measurements are often lacking in soil inventories and BD is estimated by pedotransfer functions with substantial uncertainty. In a systematic method comparison, we evaluated different methods for BD determination in the field by comparing the performance of MINI (5 cm3) and BIG (250 cm3) sample rings and of three driving hammer probes differing in diameter, material, and extraction method. Bulk density determined with 100-cm3 sample rings was defined as the reference method (REF). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Little is known about the methodological errors of bulk density quantification.
      • Soil probes are easy to handle, but systematic methods comparisons are lacking.
      • We compared methods among three soil ring types and three soil probe types at four sites.

      Published: May 20, 2016

    • Thomas Keller, Siul Ruiz, Matthias Stettler and Markus Berli
      Determining Soil Stress beneath a Tire: Measurements and Simulations

      This study measured soil stress underneath a rolling wheel by using two different types of sensors: a load cell type probe referred to as an Arvidsson probe to read vertical soil stress and a fluid inclusion type sensor referred to as a Bolling probe to read soil mean normal stress. Measurements were compared with simulations using a semi-empirical as well as a finite element model. The latter allowed us to consider a layered soil profile as well as an elastoplastic constitutive relationship in the simulations. In addition, the finite element model was used to quantify the ratio between the Bolling probe pressure and the soil mean normal stress. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Bolling probe pressure is a function of soil mean normal stress and the soil’s Poisson ratio.
      • Vertical soil stress could be well described by the Boussinesq solution.
      • Simulations reveal a significant impact of soil properties on mean normal stress.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Shmulik P. Friedman
      Evaluating the Role of Water Availability in Determining the Yield–Plant Population Density Relationship

      Thirty-eight yield–plant population density (Y-PPD) data sets were collected from the literature and analyzed statistically to yield, inter alia, a single “universal” relationship that realistically describes the Y-PPD data obtained with various plants under various agricultural and environmental conditions. This study aimed to evaluate the dependence of water availability to plant root systems on plant population density, plant arrangement geometry, active-root-system size, and soil texture. The outlined evaluation of the relative water uptake rate–plant population density (RWUR-PPD) relationship can quantify the roles of water availability and competition among neighboring root systems in determining the Y-PPD relationship. In particular, this methodology quantifies the effects of root system size, soil capillary length, and planting rectangularity on the Y-PPD relationship. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • The effect of plant population density on soil water availability is analyzed.
      • Horizontally uniform irrigation and maximum possible suction applied by plant roots are assumed.
      • The analysis requires knowledge of only the radius of the active root zone and the soil capillary length.
      • The water-competition factor is proportional to the product of the root system radius and soil capillary length.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Nimlesh Balaine, Tim J. Clough, Mike H. Beare, Steve M Thomas and Esther D. Meenken
      Soil Gas Diffusivity Controls N 2 O and N 2 Emissions and their Ratio

      Knowledge of soil biological and physical interactions with respect to N2O and N2 fluxes is essential to ensure that agricultural land management is environmentally and economically sustainable. This study determined how varying soil relative gas diffusivity (Dp/Do) affected cumulative N2O and N2 fluxes under simulated ruminant urinary-N deposition. Using repacked soil cores, the effects of varying soil bulk density (ρb; from 1.1 to 1.5 Mg m−3) and soil matric potential (ψ; −10 to −0.2 kPa) on Dp/Do were examined in a Templeton silt loam soil (Udic Haplustept) following the application of simulated ruminant urine (700 kg N ha−1). Fluxes of N2O and N2, soil inorganic N, pH, and dissolved organic C (DOC) dynamics were monitored over 35 d. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Relative gas diffusivity controls both N2O and N2 emissions.
      • Relative gas diffusivity integrates the effects of soil bulk density and matric potential.
      • Nitrogen use efficiency is likely to be driven by soil physics.

      Published: May 6, 2016

    • Benjamin M. Wallen, Kathleen M. Smits, Toshihiro Sakaki, Stacy E. Howington and Chamindu Deepagoda T.K.K.
      Thermal Conductivity of Binary Sand Mixtures Evaluated through Full Water Content Range

      A soil’s grain-size distribution affects its physical and hydraulic properties; however, little is known about its effect on soil thermal properties. To better understand how grain-size distribution affects soil thermal properties, specifically the effective thermal conductivity, a set of laboratory experiments was performed using binary mixtures of two uniform sands tightly packed with seven different mixing fractions over the full range of saturation. For each binary mixture, the effective thermal conductivity, λ, capillary pressure, hc, and volumetric water content, θ, were measured. Results demonstrated that the λ–θ relationship exhibited distinct characteristics based on the percentage of fine- and coarse-grained sands. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Thermal conductivity and water content relationship based upon mixtures are distinct.
      • Systematic change in particle fine fraction directly affects thermal conductivity.
      • Strong correlation between density and thermal conductivity
      • Campbell model well predicts thermal conductivity with all four parameters calibrated.
      • Lu and Dong model well predicts thermal conductivity with both parameters calibrated.

      Published: April 22, 2016


    • Timothy J. Veverica, Evan S. Kane, Amy M. Marcarelli and Sarah A. Green
      Ionic Liquid Extraction Unveils Previously Occluded Humic-Bound Iron in Peat Soil Pore Water

      Globally, peatland ecosystems store tremendous amounts of C relative to their extent on the landscape, largely owing to saturated soils which limit decomposition. While there is still considerable uncertainty regarding CO2 production potential below the water table in peatland ecosystems, extracellular Fe reduction has been suggested as a dominant pathway for anaerobic metabolism. However, colorimetric methods commonly used to quantitate Fe and partition between redox species are known to be unreliable in the presence of complex humic substances, which are common in peatland pore water. We evaluated both the standard o-phenanthroline (o-P) Method and an ionic liquid extraction (ILE) Method followed by quantitation with inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP–OES) to compare total Fe recovery and Fe2+/Fe3+ ratios in four distinct peatland ecosystems, ranging from rich fen to bog. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Dissolved organic matter character should be evaluated when selecting Fe quantitation methods.
      • The o-phenanthroline Method cannot consistently speciate Fe in bogs and fens.
      • Ionic liquid extraction yields superior Fe quantitation over o-phenanthroline.

      Published: May 27, 2016

    • Jing Hu, Kanika S. Inglett, Alan L. Wright and K. Ramesh Reddy
      Nitrous Oxide Production and Reduction in Seasonally-Flooded Cultivated Peatland Soils

      Biogeochemical controls of N2O production and reduction during denitrification in cultivated and intermittently flooded peatland soils are poorly understood. Soils from sugarcane (Saccharum spp.), vegetable, turfgrass, and uncultivated subtropical peatlands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) were studied to elucidate influence of land use on N2O production and reduction. Under ambient soil conditions, intensively managed, tilled soils (sugarcane and vegetable) had 1.5 to 4 times lower N2O production and reduction than turfgrass soils. Uncultivated soils had 130 to 270% higher N2O production than tilled soils but had similar N2O reduction compared with tilled soils. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • We quantified N2O production and reduction for cultivated intermittently flooded peatland soils.
      • Labile organic C limited N2O production and reduction.
      • High residual NO3− in soils inhibited N2O reduction.
      • N2O emissions were inversely proportional to land management intensity and decreased in the order of uncultivated, turfgrass, vegetable, and sugarcane soils.

      Published: May 27, 2016

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