GONZALEZ POLO Marina
Understanding compost effects on water availability in a degraded sandy soil of Patagonia
KOWALJOW, E.; GONZALEZ-POLO, M.; MAZZARINO, M. J.
Environmental Earth Sciences
Lugar: Berlin Heidelberg; Año: 2017 vol. 76 p. 255 - 265
Disturbances have the potential to reduce soil water and nutrient retention capacity by decreasing soil organic matter (SOM), which is particularly true for sandy soils characterized by an inherent low capacity to retain nutrients and water. To restore degraded areas, several works have shown positive effects of organic matter inputs on soil properties and plant growth. Despite these promising results, it is still unclear how organic matter inputs and plant growth modify the balance between soil nutrient and water supply. The objectives of the present work were (1) to evaluate the effects of biosolids compost and municipal compost addition on plant available water (PAW), soil moisture and soil temperature in a burned sandy soil of NW Patagonia (Argentina), and (2) to relate PAW and soil moisture with bulk density, soil organic carbon, nutrient availability (inorganic and potential mineralized nitrogen (N), extractable phosphorous) and aboveground phytomass. An experiment with excised vegetation and watering was also conducted. Compost application increased SOM, but it was insufficient to increase PAW. The increase in potential mineralized N in the amended soils indicated that during moist periods (and adequate temperatures), N uptake was increased, enhancing plant growth. As a consequence, higher plant water consumption in amended treatments resulted in lower soil moisture than in non-amended plots during the vegetative growth period that coincides with decreasing precipitation. Results indicate that a relatively high dose of compost (40 Mg ha-1) applied to a sandy soil, contributed to increase nutrient availability and consequently, aboveground phytomass and water consumption.