Soil salinization is a major threat to agricultural lands. Among salt-affected lands, coastal areas could be considered as highly complex systems, where salinization degradation due to anthropogenic pressure and climate-induced changes could significantly alter system functioning. For such complex systems, conceptual models can be used as evaluation tools in a preliminary step to identify the main evolutionary processes responsible for soil and water salinization. This study aimed to propose a conceptual model for water fluxes in a coastal area affected by salinity, which can help to identify the relationships between agricultural landscape evolution and actual salinity. First, we conducted field investigations from 2012 to 2016, mainly based on both soil (EC1/5) and water (ECw) electrical conductivity survey. This allowed us to characterize spatial structures for EC1/5 and ECw and to identify the river as a preponderant factor in land salinization. Subsequently, we proposed and used a conceptual model for water fluxes and conducted a time analysis (1962–2012) for three of its main constitutive elements, namely climate, river, and land systems. When integrated within the conceptual model framework, it appeared that the evolution of all constitutive elements since 1962 was responsible for the disruption of system equilibrium, favoring overall salt accumulation in the soil root zone.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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