Aggregate stability, infiltration, and glomalin in eroded and compacted soils on Fort Hood Military Reservation
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Fort Hood Military Reservation is a 900 km2 military installation located between Killeen, Copperas Cove, and Gatesville in central Texas. It supports two full armored divisions which require year-round, live-fire maneuvers and training (Ft. Hood, 2003). As a result of the constant foot traffic and use of heavy equipment, the soils on the training ranges have become increasingly compacted, eroded, and stripped of vegetation. This study evaluated the impact that selected soil amendments would have on soil aggregation, infiltration, and levels of glomalin. A field study was done on plots located inside Fort Hood on a Nuff silty clay (fine-silty, carbonatic, thermic Udic Calciustoll). The plots were amended with composted dairy manure, inorganic fertilizers, and native grass seed. Aggregate stability was determined using a wet sieving procedure and total glomalin values were quantified using a Bradford assay. Field measurements of infiltration rates were taken using a drip-type rainfall simulator. Aggregate stability exhibited decreased values over time for all treatments but two (Site Prep / No Seed and Site Prep / Compost / Seed). In addition, three treatments changed significantly over time (from before treatment application to after treatment application). These treatments were the Site Prep / Compost / No Seed, No Prep / No Seed, and No Prep / Seed treatments. Levels of glomalin increased significantly over time for all treatments (p-value <0.001). Glomalin was correlated to aggregate stability after treatments were applied (p-value <0.01) but not before (p-value 0.89). In addition, infiltration rates were not related to glomalin (p-value 0.9) or aggregate stability (p-value 0.09). Additional sampling of Fort Hood beyond the plot study demonstrates significant differences in aggregate stability, infiltration rates, and levels of glomalin. Measurements taken from ten sites showed no correlations between aggregate stability, infiltration rates, or glomalin. Organic C was correlated to percent water stable aggregates (%WSA) and levels of glomalin. These results illustrate the relationship between organic C and aggregate stability as well as glomalin levels in maintaining infiltration rates and reducing soil loss by erosion.
Applewhite, James Kenneth (2008). Aggregate stability, infiltration, and glomalin in eroded and compacted soils on Fort Hood Military Reservation. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from