1. bookVolume 69 (2021): Issue 4 (December 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
28 Mar 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Biocrust effects on soil infiltrability in the Mu Us Desert: Soil hydraulic properties analysis and modeling

Published Online: 15 Nov 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 69 (2021) - Issue 4 (December 2021)
Page range: 378 - 386
Received: 28 Jun 2021
Accepted: 18 Aug 2021
Journal Details
First Published
28 Mar 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

The presence of biocrusts changes water infiltration in the Mu Us Desert. Knowledge of the hydraulic properties of biocrusts and parameterization of soil hydraulic properties are important to improve simulation of infiltration and soil water dynamics in vegetation-soil-water models. In this study, four treatments, including bare land with sporadic cyanobacterial biocrusts (BL), lichen-dominated biocrusts (LB), early-successional moss biocrusts (EMB), and late-successional moss biocrusts (LMB), were established to evaluate the effects of biocrust development on soil water infiltration in the Mu Us Desert, northwest of China. Moreover, a combined Wooding inverse approach was used for the estimation of soil hydraulic parameters. The results showed that infiltration rate followed the pattern BL > LB > EMB > LMB. Moreover, the LB, EMB, and LMB treatments had significantly lower infiltration rates than the BL treatment. The saturated soil moisture (θs) and shape parameter (αVG) for the EMB and LMB treatments were higher than that for the BL and LB treatments, although the difference among four treatments was insignificant. Water retention increased with biocrust development at high-pressure heads, whereas the opposite was observed at low-pressure heads. The development of biocrusts influences van Genuchten parameters, subsequently affects the water retention curve, and thereby alters available water in the biocrust layer. The findings regarding the parameterization of soil hydraulic properties have important implications for the simulation of eco-hydrological processes in dryland ecosystems.


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