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Soil Characterization Laboratory Projects

DRI Soil Characterization and Quaternary Pedology LaboratoryDesert soils are characterized by unique spatial and vertical distribution of properties (e.g. texture, soluble salts, organic matter, surface cover) that are critical ecosystem processes. Distribution of these properties directly impacts surface stability and controls plant growth. Desert soil cover is complex consisting of a combination of desert pavement or gravel, inorganic and/or biologic soil crusts, and widely spaced desert shrubs. Natural growth and establishment of desert plants are largely limited by the availability of soil moisture. Ongoing studies in the Mojave and Sonoran Desert strongly indicate that overall characteristics of the soil, especially soil texture and structure, directly control the response of desert plants by controlling the flux of available soil water (McAuliffe and McDonald, 1995; Hamerlynck et al., 2000, 2002; McDonald, 2002; McDonald and Caldwell, 2003a, 2003b; Shafer et al., in press). The Soil Characterization Laboratory has the responsibility of measuring and reporting the data necessary for these on-going DRI projects.

Project Highlights

The following lists a sample of the projects that the Soil Characterization Laboratory has been involved with. 

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Analysis of Desert Shrubs Along First-order Channels on Desert Piedmonts: Possible Indicators of Ecosystem Health and Historic Variation 8947
Basic Research Linkages Among the Soil-Hydrologic-Biologic Systems Common to the Desert Piedmonts, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds 23743
Catalina Island Automated Climate Network 9191
Catalogue of Analogs: Identifying Terrain Similarities between the World's Deserts and the US Army's Desert Hot Weather test site, Yuma Proving Ground YPG, southwestern Arizona 10166
Geochemical and Physical Characteristics of Iraqi Dust and Soil Samples 24537
Geochemical and Physical Characteristics of Vehicle Endurance and Dust Test Courses at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground 8331
Global Military Operating Environments: Linking Natural Environments, International Security, and Military Operations (GMOE) 4083
Integrated Desert Terrain Forecasting for Military Operations (DTF) 8650
Integrated Site Design for the Restoration of Military Lands 5885
LanDPro: Army Landscape Dynamics Support Program 3114
Landscape Position and Hillslope Hydrology Associated with the Middle Ranch Hayfield Restoration 6126
Master Environmental Reference Site (MERS): Deformation and recovery of desert pavements, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground 7696
Measuring Heterogeneities of Soil Hydraulic Properties from Canopy to Interspace 23645
Remote Sensing for Mapping Near-Surface Playa Moisture 6946
Seedbed Microclimate: Modeling and Monitoring Soil Moisture in Support of the Restoration of Military Lands 7444
Soil Evaluation in Support of Estimating Carrying Capacity and Landscape Degradation at the NTC Fort Irwin, CA 5516
Uranium Oxide Soil Stabilization Study, Yuma Proving Ground, AZ 7354