Potential of geoelectrical methods to monitor root zone processes and structure: a review

Cimpoiasu, Mihai Octavian; Kuras, Oliver; Pridmore, Tony; Mooney, Sacha J.. 2020 Potential of geoelectrical methods to monitor root zone processes and structure: a review. Geoderma, 365, 114232.

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Understanding the processes that control mass and energy exchanges between soil, plants and the atmosphere plays a critical role for understanding the root zone system, but it is also beneficial for practical applications such as sustainable agriculture and geotechnics. Improved process understanding demands fast, minimally invasive and cost-effective methods of monitoring the shallow subsurface. Geoelectrical monitoring methods fulfil these criteria and have therefore become of increasing interest to soil scientists. Such methods are particularly sensitive to variations in soil moisture and the presence of root material, both of which are essential drivers for processes and mechanisms in soil and root zone systems. This review analyses the recent use of geoelectrical methods in the soil sciences, and highlights their main achievements in focal areas such as estimating hydraulic properties and delineating root architecture. We discuss the specific advantages and limitations of geoelectrical monitoring in this context. Standing out amongst the latter are the non-uniqueness of inverse model solution and the appropriate choice of pedotransfer functions between electrical parameters and soil properties. The relationship between geoelectrical monitoring and alternative characterization methodologies is also examined. Finally, we advocate for future interdisciplinary research combining models of root hydrology and geoelectrical measurements. This includes the development of more appropriate analogue root electrical models, careful separation between different root zone contributors to the electrical response and integrating spatial and temporal geophysical measurements into plant hydrological models to improve the prediction of root zone development and hydraulic parameters.

Item Type: Publication - Article
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ISSN: 00167061
Date made live: 13 Mar 2020 11:49 +0 (UTC)

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