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VIII. Conclusions and Future Work
J. L. RICHARDSON ETAL.
at scales that range from interpedon to regional. Management and land use in the
PPR is intensively agricultural, yet little information exists that examines the
effects of management of lower level system components on higher level systems. For example, the controversy initiated by the swampbuster provisions of
the 1985 farm bill indicates that drainage of seasonal recharge-type wetlands is
desired by many landowners and is likely the most immediate of anthropogenic
impacts on PPR wetland ecosystems. Yet the impacts of drainage of recharge
wetland components on the hydrology and wetland functions of the affected
recharge-flowthrough-discharge system are unknown. Hubbard et al. (1987)
suggest that potential lowering of local and regional water tables produced by
extensive drainage may increase drought severity in the PPR and result in longterm deterioration of overall agricultural productivity, but little concrete evidence
More specifically, we know that sedimentation in prairie wetlands is a natural
process that can be accelerated by management decisions regarding cropping and
grazing practices within the wetland catchment. Yet the magnitude of increased
sedimentation and the influence of sediment chemistry and nutrient loading on
wetland biota and hydrologic function are virtually unknown, let alone related to
specific management practices. Even though many people acknowledge the severity of this problem, much of the evidence is anecdotal at best. If society
determines that PPR wetland systems are an essential component of the prairie
landscape that require preservation and management, we must produce the research that provides the knowledge to incorporate effectively these wetland systems into the whole management picture.
2 . Biogeochernistry of C , N , and S. Climatic and geologic factors have combined to produce a unique hydrogeology in the northern Great Plains that has implications for C, N, and S cycling in wetlands. Hydric soil characteristics in PPR
wetland systems strongly influence and are influenced by interactions between
microbiotic and macrobiotic communities; fluctuations in the movement, quantity, and quality of water; redox chemistry; and landscape controls. The edaphic
factors involved include one of the strongest natural buffers (the calcite-gypsumwater system); organic matter decomposition (type, rates, and A-horizon development); C, N, and S partitioning into gas, solute, and inorganic and organic
solid phases; and system-wide pH and Eh controls. All involve interactions between biotic communities, mineral equilibria, and hydrologic factors. SO, reduction and P o x i d a t i o n in particular are thought to be important in C and S
cycling in PPR wetlands (Arndt and Richardson, 1993);however, the importance
of S redox chemistry in the hydrochemical context of PPR wetland systems has
not been investigated.
3 . Landform-oriented hydrogeologic studies. The PPR contains many distinct
glacial landscapes, including hummocky stagnation moraine of fine-loamy to
coarse-loamy till, rolling drift prairie consisting chiefly of dense lodgement till,
WETLAND SOILS OF PRAIRIE POTHOLES
and extensive sandy outwash plains, deltaic deposits, and finer textured lacustrine plains of low relief. In spite of the considerable variation in texture, lithology, and topography represented by these landscapes, wetland research in
the PPR has not specifically recognized landform as an important controlling
factor. In fact, much of the research reported here and in recent reviews has
emphasized wetlands emplaced in hummocky, high-relief stagnation moraine.
More research is needed that compares and contrasts pedologic, hydrologic, and
biologic characteristics of wetlands stratified by these distinct landforms to assess the magnitude and type of differences in wetland function.
4 . Improved methodology.Recent advancesin computersimulationsof groundwater movement, solute transport, and solute-sediment interactions have provided powerful research tools to model the hydrogeologic complexity of PPR
wetland systems. Several field-scale applications of such techniques have recently been reported; however, more are needed that stress model verification.
We acknowledge the helpful suggestions given to this manuscript by B. D. Seelig, R. B. Daniels,
and Dan Hubbard.
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PERSPECTIVES ON SOIL POTASSIUM
V. P. Evangelou, Jian Wang, and Ronald E. Phillips
Department of Agronomy
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40546
11. Electrochemical Considerations
k Fundamental Basis of Q/I
B. Gapon Q/I Interpretation
N. Basis of Molecular Interpretation of Quantity/Intensity
A. Gapon-Derived Q/I Parameters
B. Vanselow-Derived Q/I Parameters
C . Interrelationship between & and Kv
D. Influence of Anions
E. Ternary Exchange Systems
F. Exchange Reversibility
V. Rapid Approaches for Quantity/Intensity Determinations
A. ISE Theory and Its Applications
B. Q/I Measurements
VI. Experimental Observations and Future Quantity/Intensity Applications
A. Experimental Observations
B. Future Applications
The term available as applied to nutrients is vague with respect to plants and
other forms of life in soil systems. Some investigators refer to available nutrients
as those that are extractable by a given extractant, such as the well-known ammonium acetate extraction, under a given set of conditions. These conditions
include the ratio of soil to extractant, concentration of extractant, pH of extrac173
Adwaxes in Agronomy, Yolumr J2
Copyright 8 1994 by Academic Press, Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
V. P. EVANGELOU ET AL.
tant, and shaking period. This definition of an available nutrient also has empirical meaning when determinations by extractions are calibrated with yield components or nutrient uptake from extensive observations of field studies. Other
researchers consider an available nutrient as representative of that quantity of a
nutrient that is added to a soil, and which may be removed from the soil by a
plant at any time when it is needed. The latter definition implies that the availability of a nutrient to a plant is completely independent of all other nutrients
present in the soil, and, therefore, differential removal of these nutrients with
respect to time from the soil would have no influence on the availability of the
added nutrient. This definition has neither theoretical nor experimental support
at the field level or at the excised root level (Epstein et al., 1963; Maas, 1969;
Beckett, 1972; Doll and Lucas, 1974, and references therein; Le Bot et al.,
There is evidence in the literature demonstrating that the uptake of K + , for
example, from soil and/or solution culture is dependent on the concentration of
Ca2+ and/or Mg2+ (Elzam and Hodges, 1967; Maas, 1969; Zandstra and
MacKenzie, 1968; Stout and Baker, 1981). Furthermore, there is evidence indicating that, for the range of Ca concentrations encountered in the soil solution
(Adams, 1971; Curtin and Smillie, 1983), the uptake of K+ and Ca2+by excised
roots appears to be competitive (Maas, 1969). In other words, K+ uptake is
inhibited in the presence of increasing concentrations of Ca2+.Similar competitive effects have been demonstrated with increasing solution proton activity
Woodruff (1955a,b) defined available nutrients in terms of free energy. Free
energy is that which dictates the relative ease with which an ion will move from
the solid phase (soil) to the soil solution phase, the surface of the plant root, or
the surface of any soil organism. This potential energy of ions to move in the
soil-soil solution media is described by the electrochemical (EC) potential /..&bEC,
where b denotes any ion. This potential energy can, therefore, be viewed as the
driving force of chemical reactions in soil.
A number of investigators (Beckett, 1972; Olsen, 1968; Nye and Tinker,
1977) point out that the parameter /..&bEC has only theoretical meaning because it
cannot be verified experimentally. However, Woodruff (1955a,b) pointed out that
in soils one is often interested in the difference between the electrochemical
potential of any two ions in the solid phase, where the majority of the plantavailable nutrients reside, instead of the absolute magnitude of the electrochemical potentials of the two ions involved. The difference in electrochemical potential between any two ions in the soil can be quantified employing the chemical
On the basis of K-Ca exchange equilibria considerations, Woodruff (1955b)
concluded that the term RT ln[(aK)l(ac,)”2],where R is the universal gas constant and T is temperature, is related to one chemical equivalent of potassium in