Ferdowsi University of MashhadWater and Soil2008-475737520231222Determination of the Optimal Ranges for Soil Pore Size Distribution Curve ParametersDetermination of the Optimal Ranges for Soil Pore Size Distribution Curve Parameters7217314432410.22067/jsw.2023.83150.1300FAMehdi ZangiabadiSoil and Water Research Department, Khorasan-Razavi Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Mashhad, Iran0000-0002-4984-5296Journal Article20230626Introduction<br />Soil pore size distribution curve and using the optimal ranges of the location and shape parameters of this curve can be used to evaluate the soil physical quality. This research was carried out in an area of about 220 hectares of Torogh Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Station, to determine the optimal ranges for soil pore size distribution curve parameters using the soil physical quality index. Different soil textures and the diversity in soil properties are the distinct features of this research station.<br /> <br />Materials and Methods<br />Torogh Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Station of Khorasan-Razavi province, with a semiarid climate, is located in south-east of Mashhad city. For the field measurements and laboratory analysis to determine the soil physical properties and indices, 30 points with different soil textures and structures were selected. Intact soil cores (5 cm diameter by 5.3 cm length) and disturbed soil samples were collected from 0-30 cm depth of each point. After the laboratory analysis and field measurements, 35 soil physical properties were measured and calculated. Soil particle size distribution and five size classes of sand particles, soil bulk, and particle density, dry aggregates mean weight diameter (MWD) and stability index (SI), soil moisture release curve (SMRC) parameters, S-index, soil porosity (POR) and air capacity (AC), soil pore size distribution (SPSD) curves, relative field capacity (RFC), plant available water measured in matric pressure heads of 100 and 330 hPa for the field capacity (PAW<sub>100</sub> and PAW<sub>330</sub>), least limiting water range measured in matric pressure heads of 100 and 330 hPa for the field capacity (LLWR<sub>100</sub> and LLWR<sub>330</sub>), integral water capacity (IWC) and integral energy (EI) of different soil water ranges, were the soil physical properties and indices which were determined in this study. Three parameters of modal, median, and mean pore sizes of the SPSD curves were considered as the location (central tendency), and three parameters of standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis of the SPSD curves were considered as the shape parameters. Selection of the most important soil physical characteristics using principal component analysis (PCA) method by JMP software (ver. 9.02), weighting and scoring of the selected characteristics using PCA and scoring functions, respectively, and the summation of multiplied characteristics weights by their scores for each soil sample, were the four steps of calculation of the 0-1 value of soil physical quality index (SPQI). Soil samples were classified into four soil physical quality classes by SPQI values. The soils of the first class with the highest SPQIs (> 0.78) were considered to determine the optimal ranges of SPSD curves location and shape parameters.<br /> <br />Results and Discussion<br />The texture of soil samples were loam (40 %), silt loam (23 %), silty clay loam (17 %), clay loam (13 %), and sandy loam (7 %). Soil organic carbon was between 0.26-1.05 (%), and the average soil bulk density was 1.45 (gr.cm<sup>-3</sup>). The MWD values of studied soil samples were between 0.94-2.88 (mm), an average of 1.93 (mm). The average modal, median, and mean pore sizes as the location parameters of the SPSD curves were 60.3 (μm), 12.4 (μm), and 6.5 (μm), respectively. The average of standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis as the shape parameters of the SPSD curves were 71.56 (μm), -0.36 and 1.15, respectively. The average modal pore sizes showed that the pores with a size of 60 (μm) had the highest frequency in soil samples. The range of calculated standard deviation of SPSD curves, along with the difference between the minimum and maximum mean pore sizes (24.6 μm), implied the diversity of pore sizes in the studied soils. The results of PCA showed that the four soil physical properties of PAW<sub>330</sub> (0.1-0.2 cm<sup>3</sup>.cm<sup>-3</sup>), POR<sub>t</sub> (0.40-0.51 cm<sup>3</sup>.cm<sup>-3</sup>), LLWR<sub>100</sub> (0.12-0.22 cm<sup>3</sup>.cm<sup>-3</sup>) and SI (0.76-2.61 %) accounted for about 88% of the variance between soil samples and were selected to calculate the SPQIs. The PAW<sub>330</sub>, POR<sub>t</sub>, LLWR<sub>100</sub>, and SI were entered into the calculation of SPQIs with weights of 0.46, 0.31, 0.15, and 0.08, respectively. All the selected physical properties were scored using the scoring function of more is better. The maximum and minimum values of SPQIs for the studied soils were 0.84 and 0.14, respectively. Five soil samples with SPQIs greater than 0.78 were classified as class 1 with the highest physical quality. The ranges between the minimum and maximum values of the SPSD curves, location, and shape parameters of these five soils were proposed as the optimal ranges. In this regard, the ranges of 29-92 (μm), 5-16 (μm), and 2-7 (μm) were suggested for optimal ranges of modal, median, and mean pore sizes, respectively. The optimal ranges of standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis of the SPSD curves were proposed as 22-81 (μm), (-0.38)-(-0.33), and 1.14-1.15, respectively.<br /> <br />Conclusion<br />The optimal ranges of SPSD curves location and shape parameters suggested in the literature may probably not apply to a wide range of agricultural soils. They must be evaluated in a more extensive range of land uses, soil management, and soil textures. In this research, the soils with the relatively higher physical quality had larger mean pore size and less SPSD curves standard deviation (less diversity of pore size) than the optimal ranges suggested in the literature. The optimal ranges of SPSD curves location and shape parameters proposed in this research are appropriate for medium to coarse-textured soils of regions with the semiarid climate in Iran.Introduction<br />Soil pore size distribution curve and using the optimal ranges of the location and shape parameters of this curve can be used to evaluate the soil physical quality. This research was carried out in an area of about 220 hectares of Torogh Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Station, to determine the optimal ranges for soil pore size distribution curve parameters using the soil physical quality index. Different soil textures and the diversity in soil properties are the distinct features of this research station.<br /> <br />Materials and Methods<br />Torogh Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Station of Khorasan-Razavi province, with a semiarid climate, is located in south-east of Mashhad city. For the field measurements and laboratory analysis to determine the soil physical properties and indices, 30 points with different soil textures and structures were selected. Intact soil cores (5 cm diameter by 5.3 cm length) and disturbed soil samples were collected from 0-30 cm depth of each point. After the laboratory analysis and field measurements, 35 soil physical properties were measured and calculated. Soil particle size distribution and five size classes of sand particles, soil bulk, and particle density, dry aggregates mean weight diameter (MWD) and stability index (SI), soil moisture release curve (SMRC) parameters, S-index, soil porosity (POR) and air capacity (AC), soil pore size distribution (SPSD) curves, relative field capacity (RFC), plant available water measured in matric pressure heads of 100 and 330 hPa for the field capacity (PAW<sub>100</sub> and PAW<sub>330</sub>), least limiting water range measured in matric pressure heads of 100 and 330 hPa for the field capacity (LLWR<sub>100</sub> and LLWR<sub>330</sub>), integral water capacity (IWC) and integral energy (EI) of different soil water ranges, were the soil physical properties and indices which were determined in this study. Three parameters of modal, median, and mean pore sizes of the SPSD curves were considered as the location (central tendency), and three parameters of standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis of the SPSD curves were considered as the shape parameters. Selection of the most important soil physical characteristics using principal component analysis (PCA) method by JMP software (ver. 9.02), weighting and scoring of the selected characteristics using PCA and scoring functions, respectively, and the summation of multiplied characteristics weights by their scores for each soil sample, were the four steps of calculation of the 0-1 value of soil physical quality index (SPQI). Soil samples were classified into four soil physical quality classes by SPQI values. The soils of the first class with the highest SPQIs (> 0.78) were considered to determine the optimal ranges of SPSD curves location and shape parameters.<br /> <br />Results and Discussion<br />The texture of soil samples were loam (40 %), silt loam (23 %), silty clay loam (17 %), clay loam (13 %), and sandy loam (7 %). Soil organic carbon was between 0.26-1.05 (%), and the average soil bulk density was 1.45 (gr.cm<sup>-3</sup>). The MWD values of studied soil samples were between 0.94-2.88 (mm), an average of 1.93 (mm). The average modal, median, and mean pore sizes as the location parameters of the SPSD curves were 60.3 (μm), 12.4 (μm), and 6.5 (μm), respectively. The average of standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis as the shape parameters of the SPSD curves were 71.56 (μm), -0.36 and 1.15, respectively. The average modal pore sizes showed that the pores with a size of 60 (μm) had the highest frequency in soil samples. The range of calculated standard deviation of SPSD curves, along with the difference between the minimum and maximum mean pore sizes (24.6 μm), implied the diversity of pore sizes in the studied soils. The results of PCA showed that the four soil physical properties of PAW<sub>330</sub> (0.1-0.2 cm<sup>3</sup>.cm<sup>-3</sup>), POR<sub>t</sub> (0.40-0.51 cm<sup>3</sup>.cm<sup>-3</sup>), LLWR<sub>100</sub> (0.12-0.22 cm<sup>3</sup>.cm<sup>-3</sup>) and SI (0.76-2.61 %) accounted for about 88% of the variance between soil samples and were selected to calculate the SPQIs. The PAW<sub>330</sub>, POR<sub>t</sub>, LLWR<sub>100</sub>, and SI were entered into the calculation of SPQIs with weights of 0.46, 0.31, 0.15, and 0.08, respectively. All the selected physical properties were scored using the scoring function of more is better. The maximum and minimum values of SPQIs for the studied soils were 0.84 and 0.14, respectively. Five soil samples with SPQIs greater than 0.78 were classified as class 1 with the highest physical quality. The ranges between the minimum and maximum values of the SPSD curves, location, and shape parameters of these five soils were proposed as the optimal ranges. In this regard, the ranges of 29-92 (μm), 5-16 (μm), and 2-7 (μm) were suggested for optimal ranges of modal, median, and mean pore sizes, respectively. The optimal ranges of standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis of the SPSD curves were proposed as 22-81 (μm), (-0.38)-(-0.33), and 1.14-1.15, respectively.<br /> <br />Conclusion<br />The optimal ranges of SPSD curves location and shape parameters suggested in the literature may probably not apply to a wide range of agricultural soils. They must be evaluated in a more extensive range of land uses, soil management, and soil textures. In this research, the soils with the relatively higher physical quality had larger mean pore size and less SPSD curves standard deviation (less diversity of pore size) than the optimal ranges suggested in the literature. The optimal ranges of SPSD curves location and shape parameters proposed in this research are appropriate for medium to coarse-textured soils of regions with the semiarid climate in Iran.https://jsw.um.ac.ir/article_44324_fc9ecc1523b9358f18f895aaa4424d0e.pdf