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Reference: Rainfall-simulated quantification of initial soil erosion processes in sloping and poorly maintained terraced vineyards - Key issues for sustainable management systems
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In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), understanding landscape evolution is essential to design long-term management plans. In agricultural fields, such as the vineyards on steep slopes, the terraces offer one of the most important morphological changes. However, it is not clear if the poorly managed agricultural terraces are optimal to reduce soil erosion and overland flow, although the trafficability is improved. Therefore, the main aim of this research is to compare the differences between initial soil erosion processes on poorly managed terraced vineyards and sloping vineyards at the pedon scale, considering the key role of the SSC (Soil Surface Components). To achieve this goal, twenty-six rainfall simulations were performed, considering the inclination, vegetation and stone covers, and surface roughness. Our research was carried out in the sloping vineyards (>20°) of the Almáchar municipality, in the Montes de Málaga (Spain). Those vineyards are characterized by bare soils, low organic matter and high rock fragment contents. Our results showed that higher soil losses (42.2 g m−2vs 9.4 g m−2) and runoff (4.9 l m−2vs 1.6 l m−2) were detected in the plots of the poorly managed terraced vineyard than in the sloping one. Moreover, the time to runoff generation was lower in the poorly conserved terraces (232 s) than in the sloping vineyard (679 s), showing a faster saturation capacity. The SSC considered as the key factors were the reduction of the stone cover and an increase of roughness. As a conclusion, we confirm that the imminent transformation from sloping vineyards into terraced fields could lead several land degradation processes if a poor management is carried out, and no control measures are applied during the process, such as the conservation of stone walls or vegetation cover above the embankment, which is not in compliance with the SDG.

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Publication Details

Published: 2019
Publication: Science of the Total Environment
Issue: 2019 Online January 2019
Author: Rodrigo Comino J 2019


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