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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  701P0304,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15731)
Authors:   U. Schindler, L. Mueller and A. Behrendt
Keywords:   fen soil / soil development / soil hydrological properties / capillary rise / pore space distribution

Investigations at 84 fen (FAO: Terric Histosol) sites of 19 fen regions in Northeast Germany were carried out to study the change of soil hydrological properties of peat soils in the course of soil development. Besides ash content, unit water content and dry bulk density, the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, the capillary rise, the water retention function and the wetting properties were measured. Soil development resulted in the porosity decrease. Opposed to that, the macropore space and the capillary rise increased. With the start of consolidation processes and the development of segregation structure, first of all a noticeable reduction of the macropores and the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity began. In the course of soil development and decreasing aggregate size, these processes reversed. Both parameters increased starting from segregation structure horizon, to earthyfied fen and weak moorshyfied fen horizon until finally partly exceeding the starting values of the pedogenetic almost unchanged fen in the strongly moorshyfied stadium. Differences in wetting properties could not be explained by changes of peat properties as a result of soil development. Capillary water supply of all soil development stages was not limited up to 70 cm ground water level depth.

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