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Open AccessArticle

Assessing and Modeling Soil Detachment Capacity by Overland Flow in Forest and Woodland of Northern Iran

1
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht 41635-1314, Iran
2
Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group (SEDER), University of Valencia, E-46001 Valencia, Spain
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Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Future Centre, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland 4111, Australia
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Department of soil science, University of Tehran, Tehran 11369, Iran
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Escuela Técnica Superior Ingenieros Agrónomos y Montes, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Campus Universitario, E-02071 Albacete, Spain
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Department AGRARIA, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Loc. Feo di Vito, I-89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010065
Received: 25 November 2019 / Revised: 26 December 2019 / Accepted: 3 January 2020 / Published: 4 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Quantitative Methods and Remote Sensing)
Land use has significant effects on the erosion process, since it influences the soil detachment capacity by causing an overland flow (Dc). The effects of different land uses on the rill detachment capacity have not been explained in depth, and the hydraulic parameters providing accurate estimates of this soil property have not been completely identified. This study quantifies Dc at low flow rates in woodland and forestland, compared to two other land uses (cropland and grassland), in the Saravan watershed (Northern Iran), and develops prediction models of Dc and rill erodibility (Kr). Dc was measured on undisturbed soil samples, collected in the four land uses, and characterized in terms of the main physico-chemical properties in a flume experiment, simulating five slopes and five shallow water flows. The results showed that Dc was significantly lower in woodland and forestland compared to cropland and grassland, as the consequence of the changes in the main soil properties and the more developed vegetation cover and structure. Dc was positively correlated to clay and silt contents of soils, and negatively correlated to sand content, aggregate stability, root density, and organic matter. The stream power and unit stream power were found to be very accurate predictors of Dc in woodland and forestland, respectively. Kr values, which assumed the lowest values in woodland and forestland, were provided by interpolating Dc and the shear stress of water flow. Overall, this study has confirmed that vegetation cover and improved soil properties in forestland and woodland may help to reduce erosion in delicate environment ecosystems, such as the forests of Northern Iran. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil erosion; shallow flow; land use; soil organic matter; rill erodibility; shear stress; vegetation cover soil erosion; shallow flow; land use; soil organic matter; rill erodibility; shear stress; vegetation cover
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Parhizkar, M.; Shabanpour, M.; Khaledian, M.; Cerdà, A.; Rose, C.W.; Asadi, H.; Lucas-Borja, M.E.; Zema, D.A. Assessing and Modeling Soil Detachment Capacity by Overland Flow in Forest and Woodland of Northern Iran. Forests 2020, 11, 65.

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