To meet the needs of a growing population and to provide us with a higher quality of life, increasing pressures are being placed on our environment through the development of agriculture, industry, and infrastructures. Soil erosion, groundwater depletion, salinization, and pollution have been recognized for decades as major threats to ecosystems and human health. More recently, the progressive substitution of fossil fuels by biofuels for energy production and climate change have been recognized as potential threats to our water resources and sustained agricultural productivity.

The vadose zone mediates many of the processes that govern water resources and quality, such as...

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