Analytical modelling of soil porosity and bulk density across the soil organic matter and land-use continuum

Robinson, D.A. ORCID:; Thomas, A. ORCID:; Reinsch, S. ORCID:; Lebron, I. ORCID:; Feeney, C.J. ORCID:; Maskell, L.C. ORCID:; Wood, C.M. ORCID:; Seaton, F.M. ORCID:; Emmett, B.A. ORCID:; Cosby, B.J. ORCID: 2022 Analytical modelling of soil porosity and bulk density across the soil organic matter and land-use continuum. Scientific Reports, 12, 7085. 13, pp.

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The thin layer of soil at the earth’s surface supports life, storing water and nutrients for plant uptake. These processes occur in the soil pore space, often half the soil volume, but our understanding of how this volume responds to environmental change is poor. Convention, has been to predict soil porosity, or its reciprocal bulk density (BD), from soil texture using pedotransfer functions (PTFs). A texture based approach, invariant to environmental change, prevents feedback from land use or climate change to soil porosity. Moreover, PTFs are often limited to mineral soils with < 20% soil organic matter (SOM) content. Here, we develop an analytical model to predict soil porosity, or BD, as a function of SOM. We test it on two comprehensive, methodologically consistent, temperate national-scale topsoil data sets (0–15 cm) (Wales, n = 1385; Great Britain, n = 2570). The purpose of the approach is to generate an analytical function suitable for predicting soil porosity change with SOM content, while providing insight into the main grain-scale factors determining the porosity emergence. The newly developed function covering the entire SOM gradient allows for impacts of land use, management or climate change to feedback on soil porosity or bulk density through decadal dynamic changes in SOM.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: environmental sciences, hydrology
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 05 Jul 2022 16:41 +0 (UTC)

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