Salinization is the accumulation of water-soluble salts in the soil solum or regolith to a level that impacts on agricultural production, environmental health, and economic welfare. Salt-affected soils occur in more than 100 countries of the world with a variety of extents, nature, and properties. No climatic zone in the world is free from salinization, although the general perception is focused on arid and semi-arid regions. Salinization is a complex process involving the movement of salts and water in soils during seasonal cycles and interactions with groundwater. While rainfall, aeolian deposits, mineral weathering, and stored salts are the sources of salts, surface and groundwaters can redistribute the accumulated salts and may also provide additional sources. Sodium salts dominate in many saline soils of the world, but salts of other cations such as calcium, magnesium, and iron are also found in specific locations. Different types of salinization with a prevalence of sodium salts affect about 30% of the land area in Australia. While more attention is given to groundwater-associated salinity and irrigation salinity, which affects about 16% of the agricultural area, recent investigations suggest that 67% of the agricultural area has a potential for "transient salinity", a type of non-groundwater-associated salinity. Agricultural soils in Australia, being predominantly sodic, accumulate salts under seasonal fluctuations and have multiple subsoil constraints such as alkalinity, acidity, sodicity, and toxic ions. This paper examines soil processes that dictate the exact edaphic environment upon which root functions depend and can help in research on plant improvement.
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