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Assessment and development of pedotransfer functions for semi-arid sub-Saharan Africa

Lookup NU author(s): Damion Young, John Gowing, Dr Robert Payton


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The application of process-based hydrological models requires the estimation of a number of soil hydraulic properties that are difficult, time-consuming and costly to measure. This would have severely limited the use of these models had it not been for the development of pedotransfer functions (PTFs). PTFs are regression equations that relate readily available, easily measured soil physical and chemical data either directly or indirectly to soil hydraulic properties. The great majority of work in the development of PTFs has been in the USA and Europe and therefore the soils used have been American or European. The problem comes in trying to apply PTFs in other areas such as sub-Saharan Africa. This paper describes on-going work at a number of locations in Tanzania that is attempting to evaluate the ability of PTFs to accurately predict soil hydraulic properties. Results are presented which compare PTF-predicted soil hydraulic properties with those measured by the instantaneous profile drainage method. Results indicate that PTFs developed in the USA and Europe do not reliably predict the hydraulic properties of the tested Tanzanian soils. The factors responsible for this and the techniques currently being considered for adapting PTFs for use in Tanzania are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Young MDB, Gowing JW, Hatibu N, Mahoo HMF, Payton RW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physics and Chemistry of the Earth Part B: Hydrology, Oceans & Atmosphere

Year: 1999

Volume: 24

Issue: 7

Pages: 845-849

Print publication date: 01/01/1999

ISSN (print): 1464-1909

ISSN (electronic): 1873-4677

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/S1464-1909(99)00091-X


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