Jump to Main Content
Relating Intensity of Soil Redistribution to Land Use Changes in Abandoned Pyrenean Fields Using Fallout Caesium‐137
- Navas, Ana, Quine, Timothy A, Walling, Des E, Gaspar, Leticia, Quijano, Laura, Lizaga, Iván
- Land degradation & development 2017 v.28 no.7 pp. 2017-2029
- cesium, inventories, land use change, radionuclides, sediments, soil, topography, water erosion
- Fallout caesium‐137 has been used to trace soil redistribution in abandoned fields located in the Central Spanish Pyrenees. A total of 28 fields with different lengths, slope angles and time since abandonment were selected on a representative south‐facing slope of the Estarrún valley. The local reference inventory and the magnitude and spatial distribution of ¹³⁷Cs inventories within these fields were documented and used as a basis for assessing patterns of soil redistribution. The local reference inventory was estimated to be 4,500 Bqm⁻². Within the fields, the average ¹³⁷Cs inventory at the top of the slope was 3,920 Bqm⁻², and accumulation of soil at the bottom of the slopes was demonstrated by an average ¹³⁷Cs inventory of 5,320 Bqm⁻². Deviations from the reference inventory were highest for fields with the longest slopes that had been abandoned for less than 30 years. Here, increases in the ¹³⁷Cs inventory, relative to the reference inventory, in excess of 20% were found at the bottom of the slopes. Considering all the fields and all geomorphic positions within the fields, the greatest ¹³⁷Cs losses and gains were found in the fields with the longest duration of abandonment, indicating more intense soil redistribution. Irrespective of the timing of abandonment, the ranges of ¹³⁷Cs inventories in the fields were found to be proportional to the water erosion index. The ¹³⁷Cs technique demonstrated that patterns of sediment redistribution were closely related to the topographic and physiographic characteristics of the slopes. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.