Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Fall 2016


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2016


Copyright © 2016 Danielle Jones


Soil compaction is a common agricultural and urban landscape problem, particularly along cow paths and social trails, respectively. The social trail in the green space of Hardin Hall on the University of Nebraska- Lincoln East Campus has visual cues of soil compaction, due to the slow rate of water infiltration and lack of vegetation. Being the focus area of this study, a sampling grid was placed on the trail by measuring and sectioning it into equal sections. These sections were further divided into subsections of on-path and off-path for comparison. Soil structure, texture, bulk density, and water infiltration were analyzed to determine the severity of soil compaction occurring on this social trail. Both soil structure and soil texture were found to be the same when comparing on-path and off-path samples. Bulk density was found to be significantly ( p < 0.001) higher for the on-path samples compared to off-path samples. Water infiltration rates were also significantly ( p = 0.002) slower for the on-path samples compared to off-path samples. These results indicate that, due to being the same on- and off-path, soil structure and texture can be excluded as a cause for the difference of bulk density and water infiltration rates. Significantly higher bulk densities and slower water infiltration indicate that soil compaction is occurring on the Hardin Hall social trail.