Bogner, C; Gaul, D; Kolb, A; Schmiedinger, I; Huwe, B: Investigating flow mechanisms in a forest soil by mixed-effects modelling, European Journal of Soil Science, 61, 1079-1090 (2010), doi:10.1111/j.1365-2389.2010.01300.x
Uniform and preferential flow produces typical infiltration patterns. We made three tracer experiments in a Norway spruce forest soil and qualitatively identified the dominant flow regime based on stained patterns. We analysed soil texture, fine root density and soil bulk density from preferential flow paths and the soil matrix by means of linear mixed-effects models. These models can account for dependences in the data structure caused by hierarchical sampling and can deal with missing values. There were between 44% (topsoil) and 76% (subsoil) larger root densities in preferential flow paths than in the soil matrix. No significant differences in soil texture were detected. The bulk density was greater in the soil matrix by 0.12 g cm−3, which is probably because of a greater soil organic matter content of preferential flow paths. Using flow patterns and model results we identified the dominant flow mechanisms. At this study site, roots constituted the main preferential flow paths and induced macropore flow, especially in the topsoil. In the subsoil, root density decreased and inhomogeneous infiltration from preferential flow paths into the soil matrix caused unstable flow.
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