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Salinization, alkalinization and sodification in Punjab (Pakistan) : Characterization of the geochemical and physical processes of degradation

Condom N., Kuper M., Marlet S., Vallès V., Kijne J.. 1999. Land Degradation and Development, 10 : p. 123-140.

DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-145X(199903/04)10:2<123::AID-LDR321>3.0.CO;2-V

Evidence of soil degradation impeding soil tillage and irrigation in cultivated soils in Pakistan is identified, described and represented in a general process of degradation. Based on a chemical analysis of soil characteristics, it is shown that a more general geochemical degradation process may occur in these soils. Two paths of salinization, i.e. neutral salinization and alkalinization inducing a process of sodification, are identified. The wide range of chernical properties of soils and corresponding geochemical processes can be explained by the great diversity of quality in irrigation water that is taken either from the canal or from the groundwater. The basic module of a geochemical model AQUA (Vallès and DeCockborne, 1992) is calibrated with the help of a study of the soil geochemical properties (identification of minerals, characterization of exchanges) and then used to assess the effect of four différent water qualities on sandy and loamy soils. Based on these scenarios, the salinity, alkalinity and sodicity hazard of irrigation water is assessed by taking into account simultaneously the electrical conductivity and the residual alkalinity (calcite-residual alkalinity, residual sodium carbonates) or irrigation water and the soil cation exchange capacity: these three indicators appear the most relevant in the context of the study.

Mots-clés : dégradation du sol; géochimie; irrigation; conductivité électrique; ph du sol; salinisation du sol; alcalinisation; modélisation; pakistan

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