Journal article Open Access

Effect of Land-Use Management Systems on Coupled Hydraulic Mechanical Soil Processes Defining the Climate-Food-Energy-Water Nexus

Horn, Rainer

Soils are the most critical life-supporting compartments of the biosphere. They provide
numerous ecosystem services such as habitat for biodiversity, water and nutrients, as well as
producing food, feed, fiber and energy. Soils undergo intense and irreversible changes due to
a non-site adjusted land management and improper application of machinery and techniques
in its broadest sense. In combination with the growing population (until 2050 we will have
approx. 9 Billion people) the urgent need for a more reliable dataset of soil properties and soil
functions gains in importance in order to even prepare more reliable models for various
requests. The mechanical strength – the precompression stress - as the result of geo-, pedoand
anthropogenic long-term processes - can be defined as the basis for quantifying the
rigidity boundary. It distinguishes between the recompression stress (i.e. elastic, rigid
properties) and the virgin compression stress range where plastic deformation including
irreversible changes of properties and functions occur. The changes in the hydraulic or
pneumatic functions like hydraulic or air conductivity, the pore size distribution primarily all
occur in the virgin compression stress range, The same is also true for redox reactions and the
biological activity (respiration) in soils but also carbon sequestration potential is also linked
with the precompression stress value. Thus, a more precise definition and following of sitespecific
functionality differences, which may exclude or concentrate certain land use or
management forms are needed, in order to optimize yield, soil protection and a sustainable
land use management considering the limited site specific resilience at the same moment.

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