An infiltration column to investigate experimentally the response of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum

Dainese, R. and Belli, A. and Fourcaud, T. and Tarantino, A. (2018) An infiltration column to investigate experimentally the response of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. In: 7th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils, 2018-08-03 - 2018-08-05, HKUST.

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    Abstract

    This paper presents an experimental setup to study the SPAC (Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Continuum) and the mechanisms of water extraction by vegetation. The infiltration column was equipped with TDR probes and High-Capacity Tensiometers to monitor the profiles of volumetric water content and suction respectively. A balance was used to monitor the evaporation/evapotranspiration rate. Experiments were run in parallel on a bare sample and a soil sample vegetated with grass respectively. Two different evaporation/evapotranspiration regimes were imposed by considering natural and forced ventilation. The experimental setup was able to cap-ture the transition from the energy-limited to the water–limited regime. The profiles of water content and suc-tion recorded by TDR probes and the high-capacity tensiometers where coherent with the different stages in the evapotranspiration process. The response of the TDR probes has also been successfully validated by com-parison with measurements of water content by oven-drying.