Direct measurement and prediction of bulk density on alluvial soils of central Chile

Manuel Casanova1*, Elizabeth Tapia1, Oscar Seguel1, and Osvaldo Salazar1
The significance of soil bulk density (ρb) as a key indicator of soil quality was examined in this study. Bulk density values obtained by direct methods (clod, cylinder, and excavation) with three sample sizes (small, medium, and large) were compared with those obtained by 10 published pedotransfer functions (PTFs) for two alluvial soils (a massive fine-textured Fluventic Haploxeroll and an aggregated, coarse-textured Fluventic Haploxerept) of central Chile. With the exception of small cylinders in fine-textured soil, there were nonsignificant differences between the methods and sample sizes assessed. On the coarse-textured soil, there were nonsignificant differences between the excavation and clod methods, but medium-sized cylinders differed from other cylinder sizes. In general, the clod technique tended to give higher values than the other methods. Using basic information (texture and organic matter/C content) from the existing PTFs for both sites, a better fit for coarse-textured than fine-textured soils was obtained. This indicates that it is necessary to define a set of locally calibrated PTFs that address the complexity of the soil resource throughout Chile.
Keywords: Alluvial soils, organic carbon, pedotransfer function, texture
1Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas, Casilla 1004, Santiago, Chile. *Corresponding author (mcasanov@uchile.cl).