Noninvasive Monitoring of Soil Water Dynamics in Mixed Cropping Systems: A Case Study in Ratchaburi Province, Thailand

S. Garré, I. Coteur, C. Wongleecharoen, T. Kongkaew, J. Diels, J. Vanderborght

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Agriculture on shallow or steep soils in the humid tropics often leads to low resource use efficiency. Contour hedgerow intercropping systems have been proposed to reduce run-off and control soil erosion. However, competition for water and nutrients between crops and associated hedgerows may reduce the overall performance of contour hedgerow systems. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) is a valuable technique used to assess the distribution and dynamics of soil moisture noninvasively. In this study, we demonstrated its potential to measure soil water depletion in the field in distinct cropping patterns in Ratchaburi province, Thailand. The measurements showed that the soils of our experimental plots were very heterogeneous both along the slope as with depth. This observation highlighted some constraints of the ERT method for soil moisture monitoring in the field, such as the difficulty of defining a relationship between electrical conductivity and soil moisture in very heterogeneous soils. Nevertheless, spatial analysis of the data revealed contrasting water depletion patterns under monocropping and intercropping systems. In this way, ERT provides access to information about the vadose zone moisture dynamics that would be unavailable with classical soil moisture measurements.
Pagina's (van-tot)vzj2012.0129
StatusGepubliceerd - 2013

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