Advances in the prognosis of soil sodicity under dryland irrigated conditions

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Pla Sentís, Ildefonso
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cc-by-nc-nd (c) International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press, 2016
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Salt-affected soils, both saline and sodic, may develop under both dryland and irrigated conditions, affecting the physical and chemical soil properties, with negative consequences in the environment, in crop production and in animal and human health. Among the development processes of salt-affected soils, the processes of sodification have generally received less attention and are less understood than the development of saline soils. Although in both, hydrological processes are involved in their development, in the case of sodic soils we have to consider some additional chemical and physicochemical reactions, making more difficult their modeling and prediction. This is especially true where we have to consider the effects of the groundwater level and composition. In this contribution there are presented three case studies: one related to the development of sodic soils in the lowlands of the Argentina Pampas, under dry-land conditions with sub-humid temperate climate and pastures for cattle production; the second deals with the development of sodic soils in the Colombia Cauca Valley, under irrigated conditions and tropical sub-humid climate, in lands used for sugarcane cropping dedicated to sugar and ethanol production; and the last one related to the sodification of soils in the Western Plains of Venezuela, under irrigated conditions, sub-humid tropical climate and continuous cropping of rice under flooding. The development of sodicity in the surface soil is partially related to the composition and level of the ground-water, mainly affected in the Argentina case by drainage conditions, in the case of Colombia to the inefficient irrigation and inadequate drainage, and in the case of Venezuela to the soil management and irrigation system. There is shown how the model SALSODIMAR, developed by the author, based on the balance of water and soluble components of both irrigation water and ground-water, under different water and land management conditions, may be successfully adapted for the diagnosis and prediction of the different processes and problems, and for selection of alternatives for their prevention and amelioration.
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International Soil and Water Conservation Research, 2014, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 50-63