Abstract

There is a growing recognition that synergy could be generated by bridging traditional pedology with soil physics and hydrology to enhance integrated studies of soil–water relationships across spatial and temporal scales. Hydropedology is suggested as such a bridge to address: (i) knowledge gaps between pedology, soil physics, and hydrology; (ii) multiscale bridging from microscopic to mesoscopic and macroscopic levels; and (iii) data translations from soil survey databases into soil hydraulic information. Knowledge gaps include flow and transport in the structured unsaturated zone, soil structure quantification, preferential flow modeling, landscape hydrology, soil spatial and temporal variability, quantitative use of field soil morphology for inferring soil hydrology, mechanisms controlling individual and interactive soil–water processes at multiple scales, pedotransfer functions (PTFs), and others. Hydropedology integrates the pedon and landscape paradigms to link phenomena occurring at microscopic (e.g., pores and aggregates), mesoscopic (e.g., pedons and catenas), and macroscopic (e.g., watersheds, regional, and global) scales. Through approaches such as PTFs, hydropedology also facilitates the bridging of data between soil survey databases and soil hydraulic information needed in simulation models. The bridging of disciplines, scales, and data represents potentially unique contributions of hydropedology to integrated soil and water sciences. It is hoped that hydropedology would contribute to our enhanced understanding of a variety of environmental, ecological, agricultural, and natural resource issues of societal importance. These include water quality, soil quality, landscape processes, watershed management, nutrient cycling, contaminant fate, waste disposal, precision agriculture, climate change, and ecosystem functions.

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