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Soil degradation and nutrient export in the upper alpine level of the Reuss watershed

Titel Englisch Soil degradation and nutrient export in the upper alpine level of the Reuss watershed
Gesuchsteller/in Alewell Christine
Nummer 113331
Förderungsinstrument Projektförderung (Abt. I-III)
Forschungseinrichtung Institut für Umweltgeowissenschaften Universität Basel
Hochschule Universität Basel – BS
Hauptdisziplin Bodenkunde
Beginn/Ende 01.12.2006 - 30.11.2008
Bewilligter Betrag 127'781.00
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Alle Disziplinen (3)

Disziplin
Bodenkunde
Andere Gebiete der Umweltwissenschaften
Geochemie

Keywords (7)

Soil degradation; Soil Acidification; Soil Erosion; Stable Isotopes; erosion; nutrient export; Swiss Alpes

Lay Summary (Englisch)

Lead
Lay summary
Soil degradation of upland soils, especially export of nutrients, influences nutrient content and biogeochemistry of riparian zones and wetlands in catchments significantly. Our hypothesis was that due to the fact that oxic upland soils with a predominantly assimilatory metabolism differ significantly from anoxic wetland soils and riparian zones with dissimilatory metabolism, stable isotopes of sulphur, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon can be used as potential tracers for the erosion of soil material from upland to lowland soils. Furthermore, the export of minerals (feldspars, silica, and aluminium) during soil erosion should produce gradients in minerals which can be used as an additional tracer to identify impact of soil erosion into wetlands.
This report is a follow-on proposal to a project which has been supported by the SNF for two years (Project no. 105579: 01.12.2004 - 30.11.2006).
Transects in stable isotope dynamics were determined from upland soils (oxic environment and erosion source) to lowlands (predominantly anoxic environments and sink of erosion material). Stable isotopes have shown to be a promising tool to reflect soil processes. There is also evidence that the influence of soil erosion from an upland site to an adjacent wetland can be detected by comparing stable isotope signatures of wetland sites affected by erosion with sites that are not influenced. Stable isotope geochemistry is a very sensitive tool and results are influenced by several different factors. In the Urseren valley the influence of farmyard manure on the stable isotope signature of wetlands was identified as a possible influence. The latter must be investigated further.
The study in the first part of the project (2005-2006) has mainly focused on stable isotope investigations. In the current proposal (2007-2008) we will concentrate more on the analysis of mineral gradients. We aim on detecting relative differences in the abundance of minerals by comparing sites affected by erosion with unaffected sites. Furthermore, the attention shall be turned on the question if there are certain minerals which can be used as indicators for soil degradation. As a reference for all stable isotope mineral and investigations the measurement of 137Cs concentrations will be used. Thus, a control measurement concerning the spatial distribution and the extent of soil degradation in the investigation area will be available.
Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 21.02.2013

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