Evaluating Experimental Design of ERT for Soil Moisture Monitoring in Contour Hedgerow Intercropping Systems

S. Garré, T. Günther, J. Diels, J. Vanderborght

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Contour hedgerow intercropping systems have been proposed as an alternative to traditional agricultural practice with a single crop, as they are effective in reducing run-off and soil erosion. However, competition for water and nutrients between crops and associated hedgerows may reduce the overall performance of these systems. To get a more detailed understanding of the competition for water, spatially resolved monitoring of soil water contents in the soil-plant-atmosphere system is necessary. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) is potentially a valuable technique to monitor changes in soil moisture in space and time. In this study, the performance of different ERT electrode arrays to detect the soil moisture dynamics in a mono- and an intercropping system was tested. Their performance was analyzed based on a synthetic study using geophysical measures, such as data recovery and resolution, and using spatial statistics of retrieved water content, such as an adjusted coefficient of variation and semivariances. The synthetic ERT measurements detected differences between the cropping systems and retrieved spatial structure of the soil moisture distribution, but the variance and semivariance were underestimated. Sharp water content contrasts between horizons or in the neighborhood of a root water uptake bulb were smoothened. The addition of electrodes deeper in the soil improved the performance, but sometimes only marginally. ERT is therefore a valuable tool for soil moisture monitoring in the field under different cropping systems if an electrode array is used which can resolve the patterns expected to be present in the medium. The use of spatial statistics allowed to not only identify the overall model recovery, but also to quantify the recovery of spatial structures.
Oorspronkelijke taalNederlands
Pagina's (van-tot)vzj2011.0186
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 2012

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