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Soil freezing; Soils--Quality; Crops and soils


Most agricultural lands in the USA are subject to subfreezing temperatures. Soil freezing and thawing affects both biotic and abiotic interactions and processes which vary with weather, soil type, land management, and topography. Soil fauna generally undergo physiological changes or rely on locomotion as a means of adapting to frozen soils. Managing faunal populations using soil management may be achievable with a better understanding of winter ecological processes. Many of the thermal, hydraulic, mechanical, and physical properties of soils are altered by freezing and thawing. Soil erosion may be accentuated by soil freezing and thawing as a result of changes in aggregate stability and shear strength. Soil processes such as heat, water, solute, and gas flux are affected by the freezing process, although simulation of solute and gas flux in frozen soils is not well documented. Solute and gas flux affect water and air quality owing to the loss of chemicals to surface and ground water systems and gaseous emissions to the atmosphere, respectively. Information about biotic and abiotic characteristics of frozen soils, presented at a national workshop in March 1994 in Minnesota, aids in the development of sound management strategies for agricultural lands to preserve our soil, water, and air resources

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