Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Plant and Environmental Science

Committee Member

Elena Mikhailova, Ph.D., Committee Chair

Committee Member

Christopher Post, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Charles Privette, Ph.D.

Abstract

The infiltration rate (IR) of water is a key soil property related to hydrological processes, soil health and ecosystem services. However, detailed measurements of IR in the field and/or laboratory are labor-intensive and expensive to perform. Soil judging in the field provides a rapid and inexpensive method to estimate IR classes based on soil texture, soil organic carbon/matter and soil structure. The objectives of this study were to classify and compare soil texture and IR for the A horizon across the 147-ha Cornell University Willsboro Research Farm using the Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database and field-based measurements. Soil texture was the dominating factor to explain the general trend of Entisols > Inceptisols > Alfisols with regard to IR in the A horizon. In general, the variability in soil texture observed in field measurements was consistent with the variability reported in the SSURGO database, although the SSURGO representative values for soil texture did not completely match measured mean values for all soil map units. With the exception of one soil map unit, estimates of IR classes utilizing soil judging in the field criteria also were consistent when using either SSURGO or field-based data. Estimating infiltration rate classes for ecosystem services frameworks using geospatial analysis of field and/or SSURGO data can be enhanced with emerging technologies (e.g., sensors) and/or easily measured conventional soil properties.

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