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Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo

versão On-line ISSN 1806-9657

Resumo

MARTINEZ, Emma María; SERAFIN CUESTA, Tomas  e  CANCELA, Javier José. The efficiency of different estimation methods of hydro-physical limits. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2012, vol.36, n.6, pp.1756-1768. ISSN 1806-9657.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832012000600009.

The soil water available to crops is defined by specific values of water potential limits. Underlying the estimation of hydro-physical limits, identified as permanent wilting point (PWP) and field capacity (FC), is the selection of a suitable method based on a multi-criteria analysis that is not always clear and defined. In this kind of analysis, the time required for measurements must be taken into consideration as well as other external measurement factors, e.g., the reliability and suitability of the study area, measurement uncertainty, cost, effort and labour invested. In this paper, the efficiency of different methods for determining hydro-physical limits is evaluated by using indices that allow for the calculation of efficiency in terms of effort and cost. The analysis evaluates both direct determination methods (pressure plate - PP and water activity meter - WAM) and indirect estimation methods (pedotransfer functions - PTFs). The PTFs must be validated for the area of interest before use, but the time and cost associated with this validation are not included in the cost of analysis. Compared to the other methods, the combined use of PP and WAM to determine hydro-physical limits differs significantly in time and cost required and quality of information. For direct methods, increasing sample size significantly reduces cost and time. This paper assesses the effectiveness of combining a general analysis based on efficiency indices and more specific analyses based on the different influencing factors, which were considered separately so as not to mask potential benefits or drawbacks that are not evidenced in efficiency estimation.

Palavras-chave : field capacity; permanent wilting point; pedotransfer functions; water activity meter.

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