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Effects of soil salinity Salts in the soil water solution can reduce evapotranspiration by making soil water less available for plant root extraction Salts have an affinity for water and hence additional force is required for the crop to extract water from a saline soil The presence of salts in the soil water solution reduces the total potential energy of the soil water solution In addition some salts cause toxic effects in plants and can reduce plant metabolism and growth A function is presented here that predicts the reduction in evapotranspiration caused by salinity of soil water The function is derived by combining yield-salinity equations from the FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper N29 with yield-ET equations from FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper N33 The resulting equation provides a first approximation of the reduction in evapotranspiration expected under various salinity conditions There is evidence that crop yield and transpiration are not as sensitive to low osmotic potential as they are to low matric potential Under saline conditions many plants are able to partially compensate for low osmotic potential of the soil water by building up higher internal solute contents This is done by absorbing ions from the soil solution and by synthesizing organic osmolytes Both of these reactions reduce the impact of osmotic potential on water availability However synthesis of organic osmolytes does require expenditure of metabolic energy Therefore plant growth is often reduced under saline conditions The reduced plant growth impacts transpiration by reducing ground cover and is sometimes additionally due to partial stomatal closure Other impacts of salts in the soil include direct sodium and chloride toxicities and induced nutrient deficiencies These deficiencies reduce plant growth by reducing the rate of leaf elongation the enlargement and the division of cells in leaves The modality depends on the method of irrigation With sprinkler irrigation adsorption of sodium and chloride through the leaf can result in toxic conditions for all crop species With surface
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