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Amelioration of salt and waterlogging-affected soils: implications for deep drainage

Bell, R.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-7756-3755 and Mann, S. (2004) Amelioration of salt and waterlogging-affected soils: implications for deep drainage. In: Engineering salinity solutions: 1st National Salinity Engineering Conference, 9 - 12 November, Perth, Western Australia pp. 95-100.


Since waterlogging exacerbates the effects of salinity on most plants, its alleviation by shallow or deep drains should improve plant growth. However, given the diverse nature of soils subject to drainage, the expected responses in soil productivity will vary. The texture and structure of the profile will have a significant bearing on the rate of leaching of entrained salt, as will sodicity since the initial leaching of salt may exacerbate soil dispersion. Alkali salts accumulating in salinised soils may accelerate the dissolution of organic matter. Furthermore, increased erosion of bare topsoil of salinised soils often depletes the organic matter content. Oxidation of Fe(II) following drainage may generate acidity with potential to alter soil pH, cation exchange and nutrient availability. The presence of sulfidic minerals in waterlogged soils would add to the potential acidification. Possible amendments needed to accelerate the recovery of soil productivity after drainage include: ripping; gypsum application on the dispersive soils; and organic matter additions.

Finally, biological priming of soil by roots of salt-tolerant species may be used to accelerate the recovery of soil qualities. The benefits obtained from drainage depend on the severity of degradation, the proportion of the drained soils that experience degradation, and the potential for reversing degradation, with and without further interventions.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Notes: Bell, RW and Mann, S. Amelioration of Salt and Waterlogging-affected Soils: Implications for Deep Drainage [online]. In: Dogramaci, Shawan (Editor); Waterhouse, Alex (Editor). Engineering Salinity Solutions : 1st National Salinity Engineering Conference 2004. Barton, A.C.T: Engineers Australia, 2004: 95-100
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