Characterizing Temporal and Spatial Trends in Soil Geochemistry on Polder 32, Southwest Bangladesh

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
David Christopher Fry and John C Ayers, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, United States
Soil samples were collected during three field campaigns to determine seasonal and spatial trends of soil salinity, soil acidity and arsenic concentrations on Polder 32 in coastal Bangladesh. Many farmers on Polder 32 use a crop rotation of rice cultivation in the wet season and shrimp farming in the dry season, and studies have shown that this rotation can increase soil salinity and acidity. Soil samples were collected in May 2013, October 2013 and May 2014 from rice paddies and shrimp ponds on the polder, from adjacent tidal channels, and from the Sunderbans mangrove forest to the SE of the polder, and analyzed for both geochemical and physical parameters and then subjected to statistical tests and mapped using geographic information system software to find correlations. Results support the belief that soil salinity, acidity and arsenic concentration exhibit spatial variation, and soil salinity and acidity show seasonal variation with salinity elevated in the dry season (May) and acidity elevated in the wet season (October). Results suggest that Hydrous Ferric Oxyhydroxides (HFOs) are present in October and sulfides are present in May, so that reducing conditions that lead to reduction of HFOs and precipitation of sulfides must occur between October and May. Rice grown in paddies should be unaffected by salt concentrations in the wet season, while arsenic concentrations in soil may be high enough to cause unsafe As levels in produced rice. No evidence of soil acidification was found, most likely due to the presence of soil carbonate.