Comparison and sensitivity of measurement techniques for spatial distribution of soil salinity
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In Khorezm, a district of Uzbekistan situated in the Aral Sea Basin, soil salinization is an important driver of soil degradation in irrigated agriculture. The main objective of this study was to identify techniques that enable rapid estimation of soil salinity. Therefore, bulk electrical conductivity of the soil (ECa-meas) was measured with three different devices (2P, 4P, and CM-138) and electrical conductivity of the soil paste (ECp-meas) was measured with the so-called 2XP device. These measurements were compared with independent estimates of ECa-calc and ECp-calc based on laboratory measurements of the saturated extract, ECe, of soil samples from the same sites. Soil salinity could be assessed satisfactorily with all four devices. ECp-meas could be well reproduced by the 2XP device (R2=0.76), whereas ECa-meas estimates using 2P, 4P, and CM-138 in the field were less accurate (R2<0.50). The sensitivity of all devices to the main ions Cl− and Ca2 + suggests that the measuring principles are similar for all instruments. The devices can therefore be used interchangeably. Field assessment of soil salinity was considerably enhanced by the use of CM-138, because large areas can be quickly assessed, which may be desirable in spite of the lower accuracy.