March 25, 2002
Air-Earth Interface: The porous land surface ranging from soil, sand & gravel to fissured rock. Porous soil interfaces range from completely mineral to completely organic in chemical composition.
AEI Concept of Infiltration: Water infiltration into dry soils is controlled by two Air-earth Interface (AEI) properties-macroporosity and microroughness or openness and roughness. The rough, open interface rapidly infiltrates water by freely exchanging water and air across the AEI, whereas smooth, closed interface slowly infiltrates water by greatly impeding the exchange of water and air across the AEI.
AEI Model of Revegetation: The AEI model for vegetative restoration involve 4 interrelated and interacting Air-Earth Interface (AEI) processes-desertification, infiltration, imprintation and revegetation. Desertification smooths and seals the AEI, thereby greatly restricting infiltration. Imprintation roughen and opens the AEI, thereby enhancing infiltration and the revegetation process. Thus according to the AEI model, imprintation reverses the infiltration effects of desertification, thereby promoting revegetation.
Agroecology: Branch of ecology that deals with the application of ecological principles to sustainable agriculture.
Aridification: A land process causing desiccation of the microenvironment to which organisms are exposed. See Desertification .
Biohydrology: Branch of hydrology that deals with the relations between hydrology and living organisms.
Darwinian Theory: Charles Darwin's theory of evolution which holds that all species of organisms developed from earlier forms by hereditary transmission of slight variations in successive generations, and that the forms which survive are those best adapted to the environment. See Natural Selection.
Desertification: Land degradation resulting from human activities and natural causes that result in the aridification of the microclimate to which organisms are exposed. Literally, the making of a desert or desert-like conditions. See Land Disturbance and Aridification .
Desiccation: A process when applied to land is synonymous with desertification or the making of a desert or desert-like conditions. The drying of land resulting from land degradation and drought. See Desertification.
Ecoagriculture: That branch of agriculture that deals with sustainable agrarian practices based on the relation of living organisms and their environment. See Agroecology.
Ecohydrology: Branch of hydrology that deals with the relations between hydrology and living organisms.
Ecological Creation: The formation of a new ecosystem based on the natural interactions between organisms and their environment. The ecosystem created is not necessarily an historic one.
Ecological Restoration: Application of ecology to land restoration. See Ecology.
Ecology: Branch of biology that deals with the relations between living organisms and their environment.
Exfiltration: A process when applied to soil air is the vertical upward movement of soil air displaced and driven by surface water infiltrating through the air-earth interface.
Hydrobiology: Branch of biology that deals with the relations between living organisms and hydrology.
Hydroecology: Branch of ecology that deals with the relations between living organisms and hydrology.
Imprintation: An Air-Earth Interface process wherein a smooth sealed interface is roughened and opened by downward acting forces applied to a blunt or angular object such as the hooves of ungulates or the steel teeth of land imprinters. The process of imprintation or imprinting involves both surface indenting and embossing in approximately equal amounts.
Infiltration: A process when applied to water is the vertical downward movement of this fluid across the air-earth interface or soil surface. An important process in surface water hydrology, soil physics, and biology.
Land Disturbance: Human activities or natural events that degrade the natural or existing ecosystem such as livestock grazing and drought. See Soil Disturbance.
Land Imprinters: Mechanical devices or hooved mammals that can dimple or print the soil surface through downward acting forces.
Land Imprinting: See Imprintation
Land Reclamation: A term used in connection with the revegetation of barren mined lands. See Land Revegetation .
Land Rehabilitation: See Land Revegetation .
Land Renovation: Improving plant communities through a variety of mechanical and cultural practices.
Land Restoration: Creation of an historic ecosystem after one or more land disturbances.
Land Revegetation: Restoring vegetation to disturbed land areas that may be nearly barren.
Mutual Creation: Applied to plant-topsoil relations, plant growth forms topsoil and topsoil produces plants. This mutually creative process is the biologic basis for natural plant succession. As better topsoil is created later successional plant types become better adapted than early types, thus replacement occurs.
Natural Plant Succession: Following a soil disturbance, a number of plant types coming one after another in time and space-a spatiotemporal series or sequence. Succession usually begins with short-lived, short-growing annuals and proceeds to long-lived tall-growing perennials.
Natural Selection: In evolution, an organism best adapted to its environment will survive, whereas an organism poorly adapted will not. See Darwinian Theory.
Natural Suppression: In natural plant succession, the species best adapted to the edaphic climatic environment suppresses other species in the plant community. Seeds of suppressed species remain in the soil for sometime.
Organic Matter: Applied to soils, it is that component of biological origin such as decomposing plant roots and leaf litter. Organic matter is instrumental in soil struction formation and soil fertility.
Soil Aeration: The process by which atmospheric air and soil air exchange occurs. This exchange provides oxygen for root respiration and carbon dioxide for leaf photosynthesis.
Soil Aggregates: See Soil Structure.
Soil Aggregation: Process by which soil structure is formed involving organic matter and microbial activity.
Soil Disturbance: A human activity or natural event that degrades the soil and its plant community such as grazing & drought.
Soil Fertility: Chemical property of soil relating to the availability of plant nutrients especially the major nutrients-nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Soil Invertebrates: Spineless soil animals that burrow in the soil and usually feed at the soil surface on plant residues. Their surface- connected burrows increase water infiltration, air exfiltration and soil aeration. Important members include earthworms, ants, termites and solitary bees. Their burrowing activities increase both surface-connected soil macroporosity and surface microroughness.
Soil Structure: Soil physical property concerning the way in which primary soil textural particles cluster together into secondary particles or aggregates.
Soil Structure Formation: Process by which soil aggregates are created. See Soil Structure and Soil Aggregation.
Soil Surface Macroporosity: Large soil pores equal to or greater than 1 millimeter in diameter at the air-earth interface. Also called surface openness for the sake of brevity.
Soil Surface Microroughness: The microtopography of the air-earth interface occurring within the length scale of 1 meter or within an area scale of 1-square-meter. Does not include large scale geomorphic features such as hills, mountains and canyons. Also called surface roughness for the sake of brevity.
Soil Water Availability: Maximum water that a plant can suck from the soil before the plant permanently wilts expressed on a volumetric basis.
Soil Water Holding Capacity: The physical property relating to the ability of soil to hold water against the force of gravity expressed as a volumetric percentage.
Surface Openness: See Soil Surface Macroporosity.
Surface Roughness: See Soil Surface Microroughness .
Surface Water Hydrology: That part of the hydrologic cycle dealing with water at the air-earth interface that infiltrates the soil, moves laterally downslope or is ponded in place.
Survival of the Fittest : See Natural Selection and Darwinian Theory .
Ungulates: The hooved mammals such as cattle, horses, sheep, goats and hogs that imprint the soil surface naturally with their hoofprints. A few scattered hoofprints help the revegetation process, however many hoofprints compact the soil and harm revegetation. See Imprintation.