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Koedoe

On-line version ISSN 2071-0771

Abstract

BUITENWERF, Robert; KULMATISKI, Andrew  and  HIGGINS, Steven I.. Soil water retention curves for the major soil types of the Kruger National Park. Koedoe [online]. 2014, vol.56, n.1, pp. 1-9. ISSN 2071-0771.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v56i1.1228.

Soil water potential is crucial to plant transpiration and thus to carbon cycling and biosphere-atmosphere interactions, yet it is difficult to measure in the field. Volumetric and gravimetric water contents are easy and cheap to measure in the field, but can be a poor proxy of plant-available water. Soil water content can be transformed to water potential using soil moisture retention curves. We provide empirically derived soil moisture retention curves for seven soil types in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Site-specific curves produced excellent estimates of soil water potential from soil water content values. Curves from soils derived from the same geological substrate were similar, potentially allowing for the use of one curve for basalt soils and another for granite soils. It is anticipated that this dataset will help hydrologists and ecophysiologists understand water dynamics, carbon cycling and biosphere-atmosphere interactions under current and changing climatic conditions in the region.

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