Insights into the Spatial and Temporal Variability of Soil Attributes in Irrigated Farm Fields and Correlations with Management Practices: A Multivariate Statistical Approach

Alexandra Tomaz, Inês Martins, Adriana Catarino, Clarisse Mourinha, José Dôres, Marta Fabião, Luís Boteta, João Coutinho, Manuel Patanita, Patrícia Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The evaluation of the spatial and temporal variability of soil properties can be valuable to improve crop productivity and soil health. A study of soil properties was carried out in southern Portugal, in three farm fields with irrigated annual crops (layers 0–20 cm and 20–40 cm), over three years. Factor Analysis (FA) and Discriminant Analysis (DA) were used to analyze the data. With FA, the observed variables were grouped into a smaller number of latent variables related to soil attributes. Discriminant Analysis was used to classify and identify the most dominant attributes and indicators for the time and space variability of soil parameters. The FA performed for the surface layer included factors related to texture, water and nutrient retention capacity, chemical composition, and soil fertility. In the sub-surface layer, the factor structure was similar, with four factors related to texture, chemical composition, nutrient availability, and soil fertility. The most influential factors and variables in temporal discrimination (sampling dates) in both layers were those related to chemical composition, with electric conductivity as the preponderant indicator. As for the spatial differentiation (fields), the dominant factor in the surface layer was texture, and in the sub-surface layer, nutrient availability. The most important discriminant indicators of spatial variability were fine sand proportion and available potassium, respectively, for the surface and sub-surface layers. The results obtained showed potential for the multidimensional and integrated assessment of patterns of temporal and spatial variation of soil functions from agricultural practices or soil degradation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3216
Number of pages13
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • agronomical practices
  • discriminant analysis
  • factor analysis
  • irrigation
  • soil health
  • soil indicators

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