Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 119 Issue 5 October 2010 pp 655-674
Saturated macropore ﬂow is the dominant hydrological process in tropical and subtropical hilly watersheds of northeast India.The process of inﬁltration into saturated macroporous soils is primarily controlled by size,network,density,connectivity,saturation of surrounding soil matrix, and depthwise distribution of macropores.To understand the effects of local land use,land cover and management practices on soil macroporosity,colour dye inﬁltration experiments were conducted with ten soil columns (25 × 25 × 50 cm)collected from different watersheds of the region under similar soil and agro-climatic zones.The sampling sites included two undisturbed forested hillslopes,two conventionally cultivated paddy ﬁelds,two forest lands abandoned after Jhum cultivation,and two paddy ﬁelds,one pineapple plot and one banana plot presently under active cultivation stage of the Jhum cycle.Digital image analyses of the obtained dye patterns showed that the inﬁltration patterns differed signiﬁcantly for different sites with varying land use,land cover,and cultivation practices.Undisturbed forest soils showed high degree of soil macroporosity throughout the soil proﬁle,paddy ﬁelds revealed sealing of macropores at the topsoil due to hard pan formation,and Jhum cultivated plots showed disconnected subsoil macropores.The important parameters related to soil macropores such as maximum and average size of macropores,number of active macropores,and depthwise distribution of macropores were estimated to characterise the soil macroporosity for the sites.These experimentally derived quantitative data of soil macro- porosity can have wide range of applications in the region such as water quality monitoring and groundwater pollution assessment due to preferential leaching of solutes and pesticides,study of soil structural properties and inﬁltration behaviour of soils,investigation of ﬂash ﬂoods in rivers, and hydrological modelling of the watersheds.
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