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Open AccessArticle

How to Make a Barranco: Modeling Erosion and Land-Use in Mediterranean Landscapes

by 1,*, 1,† and 2,†
1
School of Human Evolution & Social Change and Center for Social Dynamics & Complexity, PO Box 872402 SHESC, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
2
School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), Arizona State University, PO Box 876004, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: James Millington and John Wainwright
Land 2015, 4(3), 578-606; https://doi.org/10.3390/land4030578
Received: 23 April 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change)
We use the hybrid modeling laboratory of the Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics (MedLanD) Project to simulate barranco incision in eastern Spain under different scenarios of natural and human environmental change. We carry out a series of modeling experiments set in the Rio Penaguila valley of northern Alicante Province. The MedLanD Modeling Laboratory (MML) is able to realistically simulate gullying and incision in a multi-dimensional, spatially explicit virtual landscape. We first compare erosion modeled in wooded and denuded landscapes in the absence of human land-use. We then introduce simulated small-holder (e.g., prehistoric Neolithic) farmer/herders in six experiments, by varying community size (small, medium, large) and land management strategy (satisficing and maximizing). We compare the amount and location of erosion under natural and anthropogenic conditions. Natural (e.g., climatically induced) land-cover change produces a distinctly different signature of landscape evolution than does land-cover change produced by agropastoral land-use. Human land-use induces increased coupling between hillslopes and channels, resulting in increased downstream incision. View Full-Text
Keywords: landscape; land-use; modeling; Spain; erosion; surface process; archaeology; social-ecological system; Mediterranean landscape; land-use; modeling; Spain; erosion; surface process; archaeology; social-ecological system; Mediterranean
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Barton, C.M.; Ullah, I.; Heimsath, A. How to Make a Barranco: Modeling Erosion and Land-Use in Mediterranean Landscapes. Land 2015, 4, 578-606.

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