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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Projecting Future Impacts of Global Change Including Fires on Soil Erosion to Anticipate Better Land Management in the Forests of NW Portugal

1
LISAH, INRA, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, University Montpellier, FR, 34060 Montpellier, France
2
cE3c, Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
3
Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
4
INRA AgroClim, CEDEX 09, 84914 Avignon, France
5
CESAM, Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Eco-Hydrology Laboratory & Earth Surface Processes Team, Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(12), 2617; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122617
Received: 1 October 2019 / Revised: 12 November 2019 / Accepted: 4 December 2019 / Published: 11 December 2019
Wildfire is known to create the pre-conditions leading to accelerated soil erosion. Unfortunately, its occurrence is expected to increase with climate change. The objective of this study was to assess the impacts of fire on runoff and soil erosion in a context of global change, and to evaluate the effectiveness of mulching as a post-fire erosion mitigation measure. For this, the long-term soil erosion model LandSoil was calibrated for a Mediterranean catchment in north-central Portugal that burnt in 2011. LandSoil was then applied for a 20-year period to quantify the separate and combined hydrological and erosion impacts of fire frequency and of post-fire mulching using four plausible site-specific land use and management scenarios (S1. business-as-usual, S2. market-oriented, S3. environmental protection and S4. sustainable trade-off) and an intermediate climate change scenario Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 by 2050. The obtained results showed that: (i) fire had a reduced impact on runoff generation in the studied catchment (<5%) but a marked impact on sediment yield (SY) by about 30%; (ii) eucalypt intensification combined with climate change and fires can increase SY by threefold and (iii) post-fire mulching, combined with riparian vegetation maintenance/restoration and reduced tillage at the landscape level, was highly effective to mitigate soil erosion under global change and associated, increased fire frequency (up to 50% reduction). This study shows how field monitoring data can be combined with numerical erosion modeling to segregate the prominent processes occurring in post forest fire conditions and find the best management pathways to meet international goals on achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN). View Full-Text
Keywords: sediment yield; runoff; fire frequency; erosion control techniques; mulching; global change sediment yield; runoff; fire frequency; erosion control techniques; mulching; global change
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Pastor, A.V.; Nunes, J.P.; Ciampalini, R.; Koopmans, M.; Baartman, J.; Huard, F.; Calheiros, T.; Le-Bissonnais, Y.; Keizer, J.J.; Raclot, D. Projecting Future Impacts of Global Change Including Fires on Soil Erosion to Anticipate Better Land Management in the Forests of NW Portugal. Water 2019, 11, 2617.

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