Root system significantly affects soil water movement in banana plantation
Xishuangbanna is one of the most favorable areas for banana cultivation in China. The massive application of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation in banana plantations have disturbed the soil environment. However, the basic characteristics of soil properties and water transport in banana plantations are still unknown, which hampers the understanding of soil hydrological process and limits the analysis of soil and water loss.
In a study published in Land degradation and developmentUsing plot-scale high-resolution dyeing technique, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences quantified the behavior of soil water flow in the banana plantation and the effect of soil physical properties on water transport.
The researchers selected two banana plantations with different planting years (one year and four years) for research on water movement in the soil. They wanted to study the characteristics of soil water movement at different banana planting ages and reveal how changes in preferential flow were associated with soil properties.
Three-dimensional spatial distributions of dye depth showed an uneven water flow pattern, with the root zone having deeper water flow, while the non-root zone had shallower water flow. Preferential flow was the main soil water transport mechanism in the banana plantation and was significantly affected by soil bulk density, porosity and banana root systems.
In the banana plantation, soil physical properties changed significantly with increasing soil depth. Lower bulk density, higher porosity and field water capacity appeared in the shallow soil layer than in the deeper soil layers.
Redundancy analysis showed that banana root biomass was the main factor influencing the dye area, followed by soil porosity. In comparison, soil surface infiltration and preferential flow of the four-year-old planting plot were stronger than those of the one-year-old planting plot, although the bulk density of the four-year-old plot was higher. The root systems of the four-year-old plot were more developed than that of the one-year-old plot and a large number of porous channels formed around the root systems, which favored preferential flow.
“The root system of banana is the most important factor affecting the behavior of water flow in the soil. The soil structure decreases with the age of planting. Therefore, it is essential to improve the duration monoculture planting in banana plantations, to avoid degradation of soil structure,” said Liu Wenjie of XTBG.
Study investigates eco-hydrological influence of banana plantations in Xishuangbanna
Wanjun Zhang et al, Differences in soil water movement related to banana (Musa nana Lour.) planting regime, Land degradation and development (2022). DOI: 10.1002/ldr.4264
Provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences
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