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Effects of Different Land Uses (Abandoned Farmland, Intensive Agriculture and Forest) on Soil Hydrological Properties in Southern Spain

1
Escuela Técnica Superior Ingenieros Agrónomos y Montes, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Campus Universitario, E-02071 Albacete, Spain
2
Department AGRARIA, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Loc. Feo di Vito, I-89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
3
Department of Agronomy, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
4
Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University, 6708 WG Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(3), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030503
Received: 2 February 2019 / Revised: 26 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 11 March 2019
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Abstract

A detailed knowledge of soil water repellency (SWR) and water infiltration capacity of soils under different land uses is of fundamental importance in Mediterranean areas, since these areas are prone to soil degradation risks (e.g., erosion, runoff of polluting compounds) as a response to different hydrological processes. The present study evaluates the effects of land uses on SWR and soil hydraulic conductivity (SHC) by direct measurements at the plot scale in three areas representing (1) intensive agricultural use, (2) abandoned farmland, and (3) a forest ecosystem in Southern Spain under Mediterranean climatic conditions. The physico-chemical properties and water content of the experimental soils were also measured. Significant SWR and SHC differences were found among the analyzed land uses. Forest soils showed high SWR and low SHC, while the reverse effects (that is, low SWR and high SHC) were detected in soils subjected to intensive agriculture. Organic matter and bulk density were important soil properties influencing SWR and SHC. The study, demonstrating how land uses can have important effects on the hydrological characteristics of soils, give land managers insights into the choice of the most suitable land use planning strategies in view of facing the high runoff and erosion rates typical of the Mediterranean areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil water repellency; soil hydrological conductivity; soil physico-chemical properties; vegetal cover; vegetation cover soil water repellency; soil hydrological conductivity; soil physico-chemical properties; vegetal cover; vegetation cover
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lucas-Borja, M.E.; Zema, D.A.; Plaza-Álvarez, P.A.; Zupanc, V.; Baartman, J.; Sagra, J.; González-Romero, J.; Moya, D.; de las Heras, J. Effects of Different Land Uses (Abandoned Farmland, Intensive Agriculture and Forest) on Soil Hydrological Properties in Southern Spain. Water 2019, 11, 503.

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