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Soil Erosion Potential after Fire and Rehabilitation Treatments in Greece

Myronidis, Dimitrios I., Emmanouloudis, Dimitrios A., Mitsopoulos, Ioannis A., Riggos, Evangelos E.
Environmental modeling and assessment 2010 v.15 no.4 pp. 239-250
Universal Soil Loss Equation, basins, control methods, ecosystems, erosion control, forests, geographic information systems, planning, soil, soil erosion, soil treatment, wildfires, Greece
Wildland fires are one of the more severe disturbances for natural ecosystems in the Mediterranean basin and can become a critical factor in the process of soil erosion. A quantitative assessment of soil erosion is needed in order to form an assessment on the extent and magnitude of post-fire soil erosion potential and to assess the effectiveness of the rehabilitation treatment. On 21 August 2006, a large wildland fire occurred in the Kassandra Peninsula in northern Greece, which burned one fifth of the Peninsula. After the fire, in order to protect the soil against erosion, the Forest Services applied a hillslope rehabilitation treatment of contour-felled logs and branch piles. In this paper, we report quantitative estimation of the wildland fire and erosion control treatment on soil erosion potential. The coupling of the Universal Soil Loss Equation and the Geographical Information Systems was implemented and the erosion potential was found to be 2.8 t/ha/year pre-fire, 29.5 t/ha/year post-fire, and 21.3 t/ha/year after rehabilitation treatment. The model can successfully contribute in the planning of the rehabilitation treatment but it cannot be used in the quantification of the soil loss after the application of the erosion control measures. The comparisons between the results of the three cases indicate the importance of the immediate erosion control measures in order to mitigate soil loss and restore the natural environment.