Large scale soil and water resources management requires very often a thorough understanding of the transport processes in the unsaturated zone and the integration of this knowledge into holistic management and engineering approaches. While a fairly adequate description of these processes has been aided at the experimental local level by the present availability of accurate measuring techniques and devices, it is still difficult to make reliable predictions on their evolution, particularly at the space and time scales of interest for environmental planning. The recent progress in developing pedotransfer functions is an example of the efficient transfer of basic knowledge to face practical environmental and management problems that require a characterization of unsaturated soil hydraulic behavior, with a trade-off between reasonable burdens and good accuracy.There is a new challenge to integrate the most advanced and cost-effective monitoring strategies with simulation models so that reliable indicators of unsaturated flow and transport can be suitably mapped and coupled with other indicators related to productivity and sustainability. Rather than using static indicators (such as field water capacity), it is essential for soil and water resources engineering and decision making to assess functional indicators accounting for the dynamics of the processes. Unfortunately, a serious gap continues to exist between the recent developments in vadose zone science and the limited portion of this knowledge that is incorporated in real world large scale management and engineering applications. This is partly due to the low effectiveness of some of our monitoring and modeling approaches.To discuss these problems and bridge the gap between fundamental vadose zone transport and soil and water management, this session welcomes contributions related to the following topics:
* Use of cost-effective and parsimonious methods to parameterize soil hydraulic behavior at large scales (e.g., pedotransfer functions, etc.);
* Development of indicators of the physical, chemical and biological quality of the vadose zone;
* Aggregation of indicators for vadose zone transport processes and properties;
* Assimilation of monitoring into effective vadose zone models;
* Role and sensitivity of vadose zone transport processes in soil and water resources management;
* Control of vadose zone transport processes;
* Integration of vadose zone science in holistic approaches of land and water resource management.