SP 2 - Optimization of water supply by innovative soil management
Plant-accessible water is the limiting factor for agricultural yields in the steppe zone of Kazakhstan, especially in the light of the ongoing climate change with an increase in the mean annual temperatures along with more infrequent precipitation events in the study area. SP 2 aims at improving soil water supply to plants, e.g. by optimization of snow retention or by reducing unproductive evaporative water losses by ultra-shallow soil tillage practices. For that a novel weighable lysimeter station consisting of two gravitation lysimeters and allowing long-term online operation will be developed and implemented, and quantitative and qualitative parameters of the soil water budget will be recorded for different soil management systems. High-resolution measurements concern for example the determination of the actual evaporation. Being equipped with a multitude of atmosphere and soil, the lysimeter station of SP 2 will also serve as a basis for the recording climate change effects in the region of the Kazakh dry steppes and compared with the development in the Kulunda steppe in southwest Siberia, where another lysimeter station is running. With additional information from the analysis of plant water and nutrients uptake, efficient water management approaches for sustainable and resource saving agriculture will be developed.