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INHS Seminar - Stacks on stacks on stacks: How do stacked, regenerative practices impact soil physical health in California vineyards?

Event Type
Illinois Natural History Survey Seminar Committee
wifi event
Oct 31, 2023   4:00 pm  
Dr. Nall Inshan Moonilall, University of California-Davis
Rohini Vember

This seminar will be held virtually on Zoom 

Abstract: Climate normalcy for California resides within the extremes. Nothing showcases this better than the repeated drought-flood patterns observed in recent years, highlighting the climatic whiplash that impacts perennial agroecosystems, like vineyards, season after season. Adapting soils within these agroecosystems through increasing soil physical health can be key in increasing system resiliency and buffering against climatic whiplash. Structural and hydraulic soil properties along with erodibility characteristics are understudied in vineyards in Mediterranean climatic zones, like California. The use of soil health management practices, like conservation tillage/ no-tillage, cover crops, organic amendments, crop rotations, and animal integration, individually have been shown to have promising impacts on the soil physical environment. Stacking these regenerative practices can be even more effective in enhancing soil physical health through improving structural characteristics as well as increasing water infiltration, storage, and transmission within the effective rooting zone of these systems. However, very little quantifiable information is available showcasing to what degree stacking soil health practices in vineyards improve overall soil physical health, functionality, and resilience. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of stacked, regenerative practices on soil physical health in California vineyards. Specifically, we will (1) assess infiltration dynamics and quantify soil erodibility characteristics, (2) evaluate structural characteristics and water retention and transmission properties, and (3) determine inter-relationships between water infiltration, soil erodibility, soil aggregate stability, hydraulic conductivity, and soil organic carbon to gauge the potential for groundwater recharge. Key results will be highlighted and discussed. We expect that stacking regenerative management practices will lead to enhanced soil health resulting in better climatic adaptation and greater water storage capacity leading to greater overall system resiliency.

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