Patterns of stratified soil water loss in a Chihuahuan Desert community

TitlePatterns of stratified soil water loss in a Chihuahuan Desert community
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsMoorhead DL, Reynolds J.F, Fonteyn P.J
JournalSoil Science
Date Published1989
Accession NumberJRN00102
Call Number00450
Keywordsarid ecosystem, article, articles, evapotranspiration, journal, journals, model, soil water loss, model, SWATS, plants,shallow-rooted, soil water content, soil water loss, soil water potential
AbstractAn accurate assessment of the moisture content of surface soils in arid and semiarid systems is necessary to predict the productivities of shallow-rooted plants and decomposition rates of surface and near-surface litter. Soil water loss has often been assumed to proceed in a stepwise manner, beginning at the surface and proceeding to deeper layers as the profile dries. However, recent studies suggest that plants draw water simultaneously from many or all soil layers where roots are present. We examined the potential significance of this phenomenon in a semiarid ecosystem utilizing two simulation models, one integrating soil water loss throughout the profile and the other sequentially removing water from soil horizons. Field observations indicate greater moisture retention in shallow soils than could be explained by a stepwise removal of water; a better correlation was achieved by simultaneously drawing water from all horizons.