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SOIL EROSION AND SOIL HEALTH

We conduct research to understand the effects of erosion on soil properties and the landscape variability of soil health indicators at multiple scales.

 

ESTIMATING THE RATE, EXENT AND IMPACT OF EROSION ON SOIL PROPERTIES

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Distribution and Genesis of Eroded Phase Soils in the Conterminous U.S.

The delineation and mapping of eroded phases of existing soil series has been an important activity throughout the history of soil survey activities in the United States, with implications for land management, crop production and the estimation of historical sediment losses and fluxes. An analysis of the SSURGO database shows that 462,979 km2 of eroded phase soils (16% of which were classified as severely eroded) are mapped in the conterminous United States, with 9% of 2013 cultivated lands occurring on eroded phase soils.

Estimating Long-Term Erosion Rates With Radioisotopes

Although much work has been devoted to understanding the changes in soil erosion rates with land cover change, the ability to quantify those changes at discrete locations on the landscape over long periods of time has been limited. We use a set of tracers and models to estimate pre-settlement and post-settlement erosion rates on a hillslope in west‐central Minnesota, USA, and show that soil erosion has increased by approximately 1 to 2 orders of magnitude over a period of approximately 110 years.

Impacts of Erosion on Soil Organic Matter Composition

The chemical speciation of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in mineral-associated soil organic matter can be sensitive to both anthropogenic management practices and landscape positions, but these two aspects are rarely examined in tandem. Here we examined the effects of long-term (> 100 yr) agricultural management and erosion on mineral-associated SOM along grassland and agricultural hillslope transect.

 

UNDERSTANDING SPATIAL VARIABILITY AND UNCERTAINTY IN SOIL HEALTH INDICATORS

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Measuring Soil Health in the Upper Midwest to Improve Water Quality

Northern regions tend to face the constraints of shorter growing seasons, colder soils, and wetter soils. Additionally, studies of soil organic carbon (SOC) changes have been biased towards coarse soils. This project will expand the data available that will facilitate development of Soil Health Management System strategies in these northern regions.

Evaluating Uncertainties and Variability in Soil Health Indicators

We interact with domestic and international collaborators interested in quantifying the variability of soil health indicators across landscapes experiencing land-use and land cover change, and alternative management strategies.

 

GALLERY OF SOIL EROSION AND SOIL HEALTH IMAGES

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