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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1529

Title: Soil wettability in forested catchments in South Africa; as measured by different methods and as affected by vegetation cover and soil characteristics
Authors: Scott, DF
Keywords: Soil wettabilities
Water repellencies
Critical surface tensions
Water resources
Engineering
Issue Date: May-2000
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Citation: Scott, DF. 2000. Soil wettability in forested catchments in South Africa; as measured by different methods and as affected by vegetation cover and soil characteristics. Journal of hydrology, vol 231, pp 87-104
Abstract: Earlier studies in South Africa had shown that water repellency in the soils of timber plantations was associated with a greater risk of overland flow and soil erosion on mountain slopes. This paper reports on a follow-up study to determine how prevalent water repellent soils are in the forestry areas of South Africa, and to what extent this phenomenon is associated with specific vegetation types. Soils from a representative series of forestry sites around South Africa were sampled from beneath each genus or plantation type and the range of local vegetation types. These soils were dried at low oven temperatures and then subjected to a series of tests of soil wettability, namely, water drop penetration time, infiltration rate, critical surface tension and apparent advancing contact angle as determined by the equilibrium capillary rise test. Water repellency is common in dried soils from timber plantations. The dominant variation in repellency is explained by the different vegetation types: soils beneath eucalypts are most repellent, followed by those beneath wattle (Acacia species), indigenous forest and pine. Soils beneath grassland and fynbos scrub were least likely to show repellency, perhaps because regular fires remove plant litter and thus the potential for hydrophobic substances to develop. Soil characteristics explained very little of the variation in repellency. Organic carbon content was weakly correlated with higher repellency, but organic carbon content and soil texture added little explanation to models that first accounted for variation in vegetation type and point of origin. These results are broadly the same regardless of which method of measuring repellency was used. However, the critical surface tension test was far superior to the others in terms of information gained, speed, efficiency and statistical utility of the resultant scores.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1529
http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1529
ISSN: 0022-1694
Appears in Collections:Water resources and human health
Forestry and wood science
General science, engineering & technology

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