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Geospatial Research Unit


Hydropedology is the “synergistic integration of pedology with hydrology to enhance the holistic study of soil-water interactions and landscape-soil-hydrology relationships across space and time, aiming to understand pedologic controls on hydrologic processes and properties, and hydrologic impacts on soil formation, variability, and functions” (Lin et al., 2006). Hydropedology provides a formal linkage between the concepts of soil science, particularly pedology and soil physics, and the concepts of hydrology to understand soil-water interactions at various scales. Areas of study that are the focus of hydropedology encompass all aspects of soil as part of the hydrologic cycle, including, preferential flow and transport, soil and landscape controls on hydrologic patterns and processes, hydrologic and pedogenic process modeling, and soil hydromorphology.

The NSSC-GRU has identified hydropedology as an important area of focus in support of soil survey activities. Several hydropedology research projects have been supported by the GRU. Field observations of soil morphology, laboratory characterization of soil physical and chemical properties, in situ measurements of hydraulic and hydrologic properties, long-term monitoring of dynamic soil properties, and spatial analysis and modeling of these data are among the tools used to enhance our understanding of soil-water interactions at landscape and watershed scales, and improve interpretations for soil use and management.

Lin, H., J. Bouma, Y. Pachepsky, A. Western, J. Thompson, R. van Genuchten, H.-J. Vogel, and A. Lilly. 2006. Hydropedology: Synergistic integration of pedology and hydrology, Water Resour. Res., 42, W05301, doi:10.1029/2005WR004085.