Compression and rebound characteristics of agricultural sandy pasture soils from South Greenland

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The reduction of permafrost areas and a prolonged vegetation period, both due to the ongoing climate change, open up new possibilities for agricultural activities in the circumpolar region. Presently, not much is known about the physical and functional properties of subarctic agricultural soils, making it challenging to evaluate soil impacts from increased agricultural activity. This study aims at assessing the mechanical properties of sandy Greenlandic pasture soils regarding a potential future land-use change. The compression curves of 210 undisturbed soil core samples of three pasture fields in South Greenland and, as comparison, four intensively cultivated agricultural fields in Denmark were generated by uniaxial confined compression tests (UCCT). Four soil mechanical properties were determined: the precompression stress (σpc) as a measure of soil strength, the compression index (Cc) as a measure of compressibility, the swelling index (Cs) as a measure of resilience to compaction and the rebound (Δε) after a relaxation time of 60 s as a measure of short-time recovery from compaction. The Greenlandic pasture soils exhibited significantly higher σpc than the Danish cultivated soils despite their significantly lower initial bulk density, ρb. The Cc negatively correlated with ρb, and the Greenlandic soils showed higher Cc values than the Danish soils. The Cs showed a reciprocal correlation with ρb and, partly due to lower ρb of the Greenlandic soils, higher Cs than the Danish soils. The South Greenlandic sandy pasture soils showed compression and rebound characteristics on level with Danish loamy cultivated soils, likely due to a high content of particulate organic matter (non-degraded organic matter, including grass root-mat residues).

Original languageEnglish
Article number114608
JournalGeoderma
Volume380
Number of pages11
ISSN0016-7061
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

    Research areas

  • Arctic pasture soils, Compression index, Precompression stress, Rebound, Swelling index, Temperate cultivated soils

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