Biswas, A., Chau, H. W., Bedard-Haughn, A. K. and Si, B. C. 2012. Factors controlling soil water storage in the hummocky landscape of the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. Can. J. Soil Sci. 92: 649-663. The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) in North America is unique hummocky landscape containing hydrologically closed topographic depressions with no permanent inlet or outlet. Knowledge about the controls of soil water distribution in the landscape is important for understanding the hydrology in the PPR. In this study, we investigated the correlation between soil water storage and different controlling factors over time. Time domain reflectometry and neutron probe were used to measure soil water storage up to 1.4 m depth over 4 yr along a 576-m long transect at St. Denis National Wildlife Area, Saskatchewan, Canada, which represent a typical landscape of the PPR. Soil and vegetation properties were measured along the transect, and various terrain indices were calculated from the digital elevation map of the study area. Soil texture (e.g., correlation coefficient, r=-0.57 to -0.73 for sand) provided one of the best explanations for the variations in soil water storage by controlling the entry and transmission of water within soil in the semi-arid climate of study area. Bulk density (r=-0.22 to -0.56), depth of A horizon, (r=0.18 to 0.49), C horizon (r=0.29 to 0.69), and CaCO3 layer (r=0.31 to 0.79) influenced the water transmission through soil and were correlated to soil water storage. Beside soil properties, topographic wetness index (r=0.47 to 0.67), slope (r=-0.41 to -0.56), convergence index (r=-0.29 to -0.60), and flow connectivity (r=0.27 to 0.60) were also correlated to soil water storage. However, multiple linear regressions showed a consistent high contribution from soil properties such as sand, organic carbon, depth of CaCO3 layer, and bulk density in explaining the variability in soil water storage. A substantial contribution from topographic variables such as wetness index, gradient, and solar radiation was also observed. Therefore, unlike other geographic regions, the soil-water storage variations in the PPR are controlled by a combination of soil and terrain properties with dominant control from soil characteristics at the field scale.
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Vol. 92 • No. 4