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Design of Terrace Drainage Networks Using UAV-Based High-Resolution Topographic Data

1
Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
2
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: COMAB—Cooperative Society, Via Santellone 37, 25018 Montichiari (BS), Italy.
Current address: Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, United Nations University, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan.
Water 2019, 11(4), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040814
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terraced Landscapes and Hydrological-Geological Hazards)
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Abstract

Hillslope viticulture has a long history in Mediterranean Europe, and still holds important cultural and economic value. Steep hillsides have widely been levelled by terraces, in order to control surface water flow and facilitate cultivation. However, under unsustainable management and growing rainfall aggressiveness, terraced vineyards have become one of the most erosion-prone agricultural landscapes. The Valcamonica valley in Lombardy (Italy) presents a typical example of an ancient wine production region where rural land abandonment has previously caused widespread degradation of the traditional terracing systems. Recently, a local revival of wine production led to restoration plans of the terraces and their drainage functioning, to safeguard productivity and hydrogeologic safety. In this study, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) survey was carried out to reconstruct an accurate and precise 3D terrain model of a Valcamonica vineyard through photogrammetry. The resulting high-resolution topographic data allowed insights of surface flow-induced soil erosion patterns based on the Relative Path Impact Index (RPII). Three diverse drainage networks were designed and digitally implemented, allowing scenario analysis of the costs and benefits in terms of potential erosion mitigation. The presented methodology could likely improve the time-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of similar restoration plans in degraded landscapes. View Full-Text
Keywords: terraces; drainage design; unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); high-resolution topography; remote sensing survey; water erosion; vineyards; Italy terraces; drainage design; unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); high-resolution topography; remote sensing survey; water erosion; vineyards; Italy
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Pijl, A.; Tosoni, M.; Roder, G.; Sofia, G.; Tarolli, P. Design of Terrace Drainage Networks Using UAV-Based High-Resolution Topographic Data. Water 2019, 11, 814.

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