Soil Fertility

Produced water (PW) is the main waste stream generated from oil and gas extraction. Nowadays, half of the global PW volume is managed through environmentally controversial and expensive disposal practices, such as re-injection through deep wells. In dry areas such as in the Arabian Peninsula, PW could be reused to irrigate crops, creating environmental, economic and social value. However, the quality of most PWs remains challenging as their high salinity, sodicity and alkalinity can degrade soil fertility and crop yield.
It is commonly acknowledged that ants improve the hydraulic properties of soils in which they build their nests. To date, however, most studies of such soil modifications have focused on one ant species and one type of ecosystem, rather than investigating how different ant species affect different types of land cover within the same landscape. Our study focused on modifications to water infiltration and surface texture of Haplic Luvisols by two ant species—one of them present only in a forest and the other present only in a pasture.