Soil salinization is a major problem affecting soils and threatening agricultural sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions, which makes it necessary to establish an efficient strategy to manage soil salinity and confront economic challenges that arise from it. Saline soil recovery involving drainage of shallow saline groundwater and the removal of soil salts by natural rainfall or by irrigation are good strategies for the reclamation of salty soil. To develop suitable management strategies for salty soil reclamation, it is essential to improve soil salinity assessment process/mechanism and to adopt new approaches and techniques. This study mapped a recovered area of 7200 m2 to assess and verify variations in soil salinity in space and time in Kairouan region in Central Tunisia, taking into account the thickness of soil materials. Two electromagnetic conductivity meters (EM38 and EM31) were used to measure the electrical conductivity of saturated soil-paste extract (ECe) and apparent electrical conductivity (ECa). Multiple linear regression was established between ECe and ECa, and it was revealed that ECa-EM38 is optimal for ECe prediction in the surface soils. Salinity maps demonstrated that the spatial structure of soil salinity in the region of interest was relatively unchanged but varied temporally. Variation in salinity at the soil surface was greater than that at a depth. These findings can not only be used to track soil salinity variations and their significance in the field but also help to identify the spatial and temporal features of soil salinity, thus improving the efficiency of soil management.
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The experiments were carried out within the National Research Institute of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests (INRGREF), Research Laboratory “Valorization of Non-Conventional Water” (LRVENC) with the French scientific collaboration of SAS, Mixed Research Unit Soil Agro and Hydrosystem Spatialization, INRAE, National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Rennes and the Developent Research Institute (IRD) Research Laboratory “UMR 242 IESS”. The authors warmly thank all the members involved in this work.
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Zarai, B., Walter, C., Michot, D. et al. Integrating multiple electromagnetic data to map spatiotemporal variability of soil salinity in Kairouan region, Central Tunisia. J. Arid Land 14, 186–202 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-022-0052-6