Mapping soil corrosivity potential to exclusion fencing using pedotransfer functions and open-source soil data

SOIL USE AND MANAGEMENT(2024)

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Abstract
Soil corrosivity is a term used to describe the corroding susceptibility (risk) of metal infrastructure in different soil environments. Soil corrosivity mapping is a crucial step in identifying potentially problematic, high-maintenance fence lines and can help improve fence longevity by identifying soil environments where the use of more expensive, corrosion-resistant materials would be more cost-effective in the long term. Soil corrosion damage sustained on exclusion fences can be a serious management issue for conservation programs and initiatives, as it weakens the fence netting and provides opportunities for invasive animal migration and occupation (e.g. feral cats and foxes) into areas of high conservation value. The increasing accessibility of geospatial analysis software and the availability of open-source soil data provide land managers with the opportunity to implement digital soil databases and pedotransfer functions to produce fence corrosion risk maps using commonly measured soil attributes. This paper uses open-source government agency soil data (shapefiles) to map fence corrosion risk in the southern part of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, with the intention to assist with the installation of a new barrier (exclusion) fence as part of the Marna Banggara rewilding project. The risk classifications (low, moderate and high risk) made by this map were compared with rates of zinc corrosion (mu m/year zinc loss) observed at field sites and correctly predicted the amount of fence damage sustained at five of the eight sites. The mapping approach outlined in this study can be implemented by environmental managers in other areas to inform strategies for enhancing fence longevity.
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Key words
exclusion fence,fence corrosion,pedotransfer functions,soil corrosion risk mapping,soil corrosivity potential,soil mapping
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