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Differences in moisture pattern, hydrophysical and water repellency parameters of sandy soil under native and synanthropic vegetation

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The main goal of the study was to estimate the differences in moisture pattern, hydrophysical and soil water repellency (SWR) parameters of sandy soil profiles at two grassland sites, separated by a distance of about 100 m, near Sekule village (southwest Slovakia). Site S1 was covered with natural vegetation formed by a process of primary succession on a sand dune, whilst site S2 was covered by a synanthropic vegetation, formed by spontaneous secondary succession. Soil sampling and infiltration experiments were performed at designated plots during June 2017 to determine hydrophysical and SWR parameters. Higher measured value of organic carbon content at site S2 resulted in the greater values of repellency index (RI) and lower values of hydraulic conductivity, k(−2 cm), and sorptivity of water, Sw(−2 cm) compared to S1. For evaluating the differences between estimated hydrophysical and SWR parameters of S1 and S2, a Welch’s test of means (allowing for unequal group variances) was used, revealing significant differences in Sw(−2 cm), and RI, at p < 0.05. Simultaneously designed infiltration experiments pointed out altered distribution in wetting pattern across the soil profile with different penetration depths: below 100 cm and 80 cm at S1 and S2, respectively. Although the observed moisture patterns showed different shapes and extensions, difference in the cumulative increase in soil water storage between 0 and 50 cm was not significant (35.1% and 36.8% of applied water) at S1 and S2, respectively. According to the results we can state that grasslands at sites S1 and S2 have different soil water repellency parameters and shape of moisture pattern, induced probably by finger flow. Nevertheless, the soil water retention capacity of site S2, formed by spontaneous secondary succession is nearly the same as the retention capacity of native grassland S1.

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This contribution was supported by the Scientific Grant Agency VEGA Project No. 2/0189/17 and Project APVV-15-0160. This publication is the result of the project implementation ITMS 26240120004 Centre of excellence for integrated flood protection of land supported by the Research & Development Operational Programme funded by the ERDF.

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Correspondence to Peter Šurda.

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Šurda, P., Lichner, Ľ., Kollár, J. et al. Differences in moisture pattern, hydrophysical and water repellency parameters of sandy soil under native and synanthropic vegetation. Biologia (2020). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-020-00415-z

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  • Grassland
  • Infiltration test
  • Moisture pattern
  • Sandy soil
  • Synanthropic and native vegetation