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Salinity and the reclamation of salinized lands

Harper, R.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-0268-2917, Dell, B., Ruprecht, J.K., Sochacki, S.J. and Smettem, K.R.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2650-4429 (2021) Salinity and the reclamation of salinized lands. In: Stanturf, J.A. and Callaham, M.A., (eds.) Soils and Landscape Restoration. Academic Press, pp. 193-208.

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Salinization of land is a form of desertification; salinization of rivers is a global threat to biodiversity and compromises the ecosystem goods and services of rivers, wetlands, and lakes. Salinization is caused by flooding or inundation with saline waters, breaching of dykes, storm surges, tsunamis, or the drying of large inland water bodies. Salinization can result where irrigation waters are compromised by salinity. Salinity intersects with major global concerns, including food security, desertification, and biodiversity protection. Soil salinity results from an excess of salts in the soil that reduces plant growth and crop productivity and affects soil biological activity. Salinized soils impose an osmotic stress on plants, reducing water uptake and concentrating toxic level of sodium and chloride. Different plant species exhibit different degrees of salinity tolerance. Salinization removes arable land from production, causing abandonment globally of 0.3–1.5 million hectare year−1. With adequate drainage, salts can be leached and the soil recovered but where the water table remains near the surface, the salinity problem will remain. It may be possible to reverse the effects of salinization. A crucial consideration is whether the desired end point is stabilizing the soils against further change, or reversing the process and restoring soils to another state. Approaches include prevention, stabilization, active management, or land retirement or abandonment. Successful restoration of salinity at the landscape-scale relies on broadscale land-use change. This is problematic where the most profitable land-use is agriculture, thus there has therefore been considerable investigation of land-use systems that at least replicate the profitability of the current agricultural system. Recent approaches have explored how to make the higher water using farming systems acceptable by making the replacement plants profitable in their own right.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: Academic Press
Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Inc.
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