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Edaphic characterization and distribution of 137Cs of representative soil profiles on mountainous Mediterranean agroecosystems

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Authors: L. Gaspar, A. Navas, J. Machín, M. López-Vicente y J. Gómez-Arozamena
Issue: 110-2 (123-141)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: 137Cs, FAO classification, DRX, agricultural and forestry, soil loss, Mediterranean agroecosystems

An accurate characterization of soils and good knowledge of the soil physicochemical properties is the key to understanding 137Cs data and assesses the effect of soil type and different land uses on the behavior of the radionuclide 137Cs in the soils. In this research, representative soils of mountainous Mediterranean agroecosystems have been characterized through the study of soil pits, a detailed determination of physicochemical soil properties and the analysis by X-ray diffraction of soil profiles. Furthermore, to assess the impact of land use on the content and distribution of 137Cs, its implications on the soil loss processes, and the 137Cs transfer to plants, 13 sectioned soil profiles in agricultural and forestry soils, in Calcisols, Leptosols, Regosols, Gypsisols and Gleysols, have been sampled. The physicochemical soil properties varied widely and also the content of 137Cs, which was significantly positively correlated with organic matter. The highest values of 137Cs were found in uncultivated Leptosols under forest soils, with the highest concentration in the topsoil and a sharp decay with depth, while the lowest values of 137Cs were found in cultivated Gypsisols and Regosols, in which the radionuclide was distributed homogeneously throughout the soil profile by tillage effect. Information gained with this research demonstrated the effect of soil type and land use in the content of 137Cs on the soil, and is of interest for the correct application of the 137Cs technique to quantify soil loss in Mediterranean agroecosystems

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