Special Issue "The Impact of Land Use Change on Water Resources, Soil and Landforms: Perspectives from Multiple Climates"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2017) | Viewed by 12369

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Saskia Keesstra
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Guest Editor
Wageningen Environmental Research, Team Soil, Water and Land Use, Wageningen University, 6708PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: water and sediment connectivity; catchment processes; nature-based solutions; forest fire; sustainable land management
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Prof. Dr. Tammo Steenhuis
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Guest Editor
Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Interests: watershed management; catchment processes; agricultural water management erosion; best management practices; ground water quality; vadose zone transport; preferential flow
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Prof. Dr. Paolo Tarolli
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, PD, Italy
Interests: digital terrain analysis; earth surface processes analysis; natural hazards; geomorphometry; lidar; structure from motion; Anthropocene
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding the effects of land-management and land-use on water resources, soils and landforms, and geomorphological processes is essential to achieve sustainable management, to avoid land degradation, and to ensure profitable agricultural production. Changes in the water balance of fields, the impact of land and soil management, the impact of changes in soil properties and how geomorphogical features impact these systems, as well as how they, in turn, change under the influence of land use changes. Issues such as land abandonment, upscaling of agricultural terraces, impact the introduction of drip irrigation, forest fires, forest management including reforestation, as well as deforestation, would be good contributions to this Special Issue. However, additionally, socio-economic changes in agricultural management are issues that we want to bring to the attention of readers in this Special Issue. These topics can be studied on different scales, from the plot scale, to farm scale, to hillslope, and finally to the catchment scale. Where on the plot of farm scale the on-site effects of land use changes are the main focal point, the catchment scale takes into account the effects land use changes have both on-site as well as off-site. The off-site effects may include flooding, sediment and the deposition of associated substances in water bodies. Finally, we would like to bring studies to this Special Issue that will focus on the perspective of the issues that occur in different geographical regions. In temperate regions, the major threats revolve around freshwater quality from agrochemicals and nutrients, particularly in the flatlands where high-input/high-output agricultural production is prevalent; and industrial and urban areas are both polluters of the natural resources. In Mediterranean climates, soil erosion is the most significant threat due to a combination of scarce land cover, as a result of the semi-arid climate, unsustainable land management, and, often, in combination with wildfires that make the land more vulnerable to soil erosion during subsequent rainfall. The purpose of this project is to collect in a Special Issue papers about the pedological, geomorphological, and hydrological role of land use change under different climatic conditions and climate change. We also welcome studies that use technological applications for field data analysis, empirical and modeling approaches, geochemical tracing techniques, and any advances in environmental planning strategies for land management. Early stage researchers are strongly encouraged to present their research.

Dr. Saskia Keesstra
Prof. Dr. Artemi Cerdà
Prof. Dr. Tammo Steenhuis
Prof. Dr. Paolo Tarolli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Impact of Soil Depth and Topography on the Effectiveness of Conservation Practices on Discharge and Soil Loss in the Ethiopian Highlands
Land 2017, 6(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6040078 - 03 Nov 2017
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3602
Abstract
Restoration of degraded landscapes through the implementation of soil and water conservation practices is considered a viable option to increase agricultural production by enhancing ecosystems. However, in the humid Ethiopian highlands, little information is available on the impact of conservation practices despite wide [...] Read more.
Restoration of degraded landscapes through the implementation of soil and water conservation practices is considered a viable option to increase agricultural production by enhancing ecosystems. However, in the humid Ethiopian highlands, little information is available on the impact of conservation practices despite wide scale implementation. The objective of this research was to document the effect of conservation practices on discharge and sediment concentration and load in watersheds that have different soil depths and topography. Precipitation, discharge, and sediment concentration were measured from 2010 to 2012 in two watersheds in close proximity and located in the Lake Tana basin, Ethiopia: Tikur-Wuha and Guale watersheds. The Tikur-Wuha watershed has deep soils and a gentle slope stream channel. The Guale watershed has shallow soils and a steep slope stream channel. In early 2011, the local community installed upland conservation measures consisting of stone and soil bunds, waterways, cutoff drains, infiltration furrows, gully rehabilitation, and enclosures. The results show that conservation practices marginally decreased direct runoff in both watersheds and increased base flow in the Tikur-Wuha watershed. Average sediment concentration decreased by 81% in Tikur-Wuha and 45% in Guale. The practices intended to increase infiltration were most effective in the Tikur-Wuha watershed because the deep soil could store the infiltrated water and release it over a longer period of time after the rainy season than the steeper Guale watershed with shallow soils. Full article
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Article
Hydrological Response to ~30 years of Agricultural Surface Water Management
Land 2017, 6(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6010003 - 03 Jan 2017
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4239
Abstract
Amongst human practices, agricultural surface-water management systems represent some of the largest integrated engineering works that shaped floodplains during history, directly or indirectly affecting the landscape. As a result of changes in agricultural practices and land use, many drainage networks have changed producing [...] Read more.
Amongst human practices, agricultural surface-water management systems represent some of the largest integrated engineering works that shaped floodplains during history, directly or indirectly affecting the landscape. As a result of changes in agricultural practices and land use, many drainage networks have changed producing a greater exposure to flooding with a broad range of impacts on society, also because of climate inputs coupling with the human drivers. This research focuses on three main questions: which kind of land use changes related to the agricultural practices have been observed in the most recent years (~30 years)? How does the influence on the watershed response to land use and land cover changes depend on the rainfall event characteristics and soil conditions, and what is their related significance? The investigation presented in this work includes modelling the water infiltration due to the soil properties and analysing the distributed water storage offered by the agricultural drainage system in a study area in Veneto (north-eastern Italy). The results show that economic changes control the development of agro-industrial landscapes, with effects on the hydrological response. Key elements that can enhance or reduce differences are the antecedent soil conditions and the climate characteristics. Criticalities should be expected for intense and irregular rainfall events, and for events that recurrently happen. Agricultural areas might be perceived to be of low priority when it comes to public funding of flood protection, compared to the priority given to urban ones. These outcomes highlight the importance of understanding how agricultural practices can be the driver of or can be used to avoid, or at least mitigate, flooding. The proposed methods can be valuable tools in evaluating the costs and benefits of the management of water in agriculture to inform better policy decision-making. Full article
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Article
Landscape-Scale Disturbance: Insights into the Complexity of Catchment Hydrology in the Mountaintop Removal Mining Region of the Eastern United States
Land 2016, 5(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5030022 - 05 Jul 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3845
Abstract
Few land disturbances impact watersheds at the scale and extent of mountaintop removal mining (MTM). This practice removes forests, soils and bedrock to gain access to underground coal that results in likely permanent and wholesale changes that impact catchment hydrology, geochemistry and ecosystem [...] Read more.
Few land disturbances impact watersheds at the scale and extent of mountaintop removal mining (MTM). This practice removes forests, soils and bedrock to gain access to underground coal that results in likely permanent and wholesale changes that impact catchment hydrology, geochemistry and ecosystem health. MTM is the dominant driver of land cover changes in the central Appalachian Mountains region of the United States, converting forests to mine lands and burying headwater streams. Despite its dominance on the landscape, determining the hydrological impacts of MTM is complicated by underground coal mines that significantly alter groundwater hydrology. To provide insight into how coal mining impacts headwater catchments, we compared the hydrologic responses of an MTM and forested catchment using event rainfall-runoff analysis, modeling and isotopic approaches. Despite similar rainfall characteristics, hydrology in the two catchments differed in significant ways, but both catchments demonstrated threshold-mediated hydrologic behavior that was attributed to transient storage and the release of runoff from underground mines. Results suggest that underground mines are important controls for runoff generation in both obviously disturbed and seemingly undisturbed catchments and interact in uncertain ways with disturbance from MTM. This paper summarizes our results and demonstrates the complexity of catchment hydrology in the MTM region. Full article
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