Salt dynamics in natural and agricultural ecosystems

Project Details


Salinization of soils is a major threat for natural and agricultural ecosystems on the global scale. Plants take up water and exclude salt by enzymatic action as detoxification strategy. In the long run, this increases the salinity of insufficiently drained soils and shallow aquifers. The salt and water budgets of vegetation are included in current groundwater models, but their implementation does not fit reality. A new model for salt uptake of plants shall be tested experimentally, parameterized by inverse modeling and well-designed experiments, and coupled to existing groundwater simulation models. The goal is to develop a tool to simulate, interpret and predict the evolution of ecosystems and salt budgets in arid zones, in order to optimize irrigation agriculture under saline conditions.
Summarized, we aim at
 determining the relationship between salt and water uptake and the plant physiology for trees, grasses and food crops by well-designed experiments and inverse modeling;
 implementing a mathematical model for the simulation of salt and water budgets of ecosystems and agricultural systems;
 developing and applying a tool for interpretation and management of salinization of soils and shallow aquifers due to transpiration of vegetation.
Effective start/end date01/07/200730/06/2009


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