Two fixed ratio dilutions for soil salinity monitoring in hypersaline wetlands

Juan Herrero, David C. Weindorf, Carmen Castañeda

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Highly soluble salts are undesirable in agriculture because they reduce yields or the quality of most cash crops and can leak to surface or sub-surface waters. In some cases salinity can be associated with unique history, rarity, or special habitats protected by environmental laws. Yet in considering the measurement of soil salinity for long-term monitoring purposes, adequate methods are required. Both saturated paste extracts, intended for agriculture, and direct surface and/or porewater salinity measurement, used in inundated wetlands, are unsuited for hypersaline wetlands that often are only occasionally inundated. For these cases, we propose the use of 1:5 soil/water (weight/weight) extracts as the standard for expressing the electrical conductivity (EC) of such soils and for further salt determinations. We also propose checking for ion-pairing with a 1:10 or more diluted extract in hypersaline soils. As an illustration, we apply the two-dilutions approach to a set of 359 soil samples from saline wetlands ranging in ECe from 2.3 dS m-1 to 183.0 dS m-1. This easy procedure will be useful in survey campaigns and in the monitoring of soil salt content.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0126493
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 22 2015

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