AGU 2017 Poster Presentation by Tingyu Hou: Interaction of Land Management Intensity and Micro-topography Controls on Geochemistry of Raindrop-Liberated/Mobilized Soil Particles

Center for the Environment
December 15, 2017
8:00 AM - 12:20 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - Poster Hall D-F


The dynamics of raindrop-induced breakdown of soil aggregates, a critical factor in the initial process of surface erosion and lateral redistribution of soil, are strongly tied to land use intensity. What is unclear however is the relative control of rain and mechanical disturbance on the development of landscape-level heterogeneity in surface soil geochemistry. We used artificial rainfall simulated experiments including an aggregate stability test and time course rainfall-erosional test to evaluate the role of management intensity and micro-topography on the geochemistry of raindrop-liberated/mobilized particles from landscapes in southeastern Iowa. Comparing restored prairie, conservation tillage, and conventional tillage sites we found, and with a trend toward increasing tillage intensity, a decrease in aggregate stability and raindrop-liberated particles that were lower in organic carbon, nitrogen, and plant-derived biopolymers, while containing higher proportions of microbially-processed nitrogen than the raindrop stable aggregates. Time evolution of the geochemistry (e.g. elemental, stable isotope, and biopolymer composition) of transported soil particles exhibited distinct patterns based upon both position of the hillslope and oriented soil roughness. Additionally, in the restored prairie, raindrop liberated particles had identical geochemical composition to the raindrop stable aggregates. Our results demonstrate that agricultural sites under intensive tillage have not only a greater potential to liberate and mobilize soil particles during storms, but the mobilized particles will have a distinct chemical character based on tillage intensity, hillslope position and oriented roughness thus lead to a greater potential for landscape level heterogeneity in surface and buried soil chemistry upon mobilization and burial.

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