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Contrasted Impact of Land Abandonment on Soil Erosion in Mediterranean Agriculture Fields
- RODRIGO-COMINO, Jesús, MARTÍNEZ-HERNÁNDEZ, Carlos, ISERLOH, Thomas, CERDÀ, Artemi
- Pedosphere 2018 v.28 no.4 pp. 617-631
- Citrus, abandoned land, almonds, crops, ecosystems, olives, orchards, rainfall simulation, soil, soil erosion, terracing, vegetation cover, vineyards
- Abandonment of agricultural land results in on- and off-site consequences for the ecosystem. In this study, 105 rainfall simulations were carried out in agriculture lands of the Mediterranean belt in Spain (vineyards in Málaga, almond orchards in Murcia, and orange and olive orchards in Valencia) and in paired abandoned lands to assess the impact of land abandonment on soil and water losses. After abandonment, soil detachment decreased drastically in the olive and orange orchards, while vineyards did not show any difference and almond orchards registered higher erosion rates after the abandonment. Terraced orchards of oranges and olives recovered a dense vegetation cover after the abandonment, while the sloping terrain of almond orchards and vineyards enhanced the development of crusts and rills and a negligible vegetation cover resulted in high erosion rates. The contrasted responses to land abandonment in Mediterranean agricultural lands suggest that land abandonment should be programmed and managed with soil erosion control strategies for some years to avoid land degradation.