Measuring Soil Salinity

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 913)


Soil salinity is a form of land degradation in which salts accumulate in the soil profile to an extent that plant growth or infrastructure are negatively affected. A range of both field and laboratory procedures exist for measuring soil salinity. In the field, soil salinity is usually inferred from apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) using a range of devices, depending on the required depth of analysis, or size of the survey area. Field measurements of ECa require calibration to the actual salt content by laboratory analysis. In the laboratory, soil salinity is usually assessed by determining either the total soluble salts by evaporation of a soil water extract (TSS), or by determining the electrical conductivity (EC) of either a 1:5 distilled water:soil dilution, or a saturated paste extract. Although procedures for measuring soil salinity appear relatively straightforward, differences in methodology have considerable influence on measured values and interpretation of results.

Key words

Electrical conductivity Electromagnetic induction Soil texture Saturated paste Salt 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agricultural Science, Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.School of Agricultural Science, Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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