Special Issue "Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Anton Imeson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Foundation 3D Environmental Change, The Netherlands
Interests: water; infiltration; runoff; erosion; soils; ecology; land degradation; forest fires; soil conservation and protection; land use change; climate change; laboratory and field measurements; policy; law and human impact governance; land use change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is a great pleasure to invite you to contribute to this Special Issue on soil erosion and the sustainable management of the land. How can we design society and its use of the land to manage erosion sustainably?

I hope very much that this issue will provide you with an opportunity to share your research with the very many people who are concerned about soil erosion but in fact find it hard to comprehend. In publishing your research in Sustainability it will transcend many of special interest research that focusses on single issues. If you are a student or young researcher or a retired professional with ideas and experienced that could help society better understand how to manage erosion, please send us your manuscript. Erosion occurs in our gardens and fields and roads and it is a major cause of floods and disasters. Sustainability can be enhanced by simple actions that are based on experiences and processes understanding. We would like to learn about sustainability and erosion management in all areas of the world.

What should we do or not do with soil erosion to become sustainable? Do new and paradigms that enable erosion management to transcend barriers. Should we abandon the idea of ecosystem services? Can erosion be used to achieve beautiful landscapes and clean water for the world.

Prof. Anton Imeson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 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.

Keywords

  • soil erosion
  • landscape ecology
  • hydrology
  • geography
  • architecture
  • restoration
  • agriculture and forestry
  • industrial and mining impacts
  • clean watersheds and beautiful countryside

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil Crust in Straw Checkerboards with Different Ages in the Mu Us Sandland, Northern China
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4755; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174755 - 30 Aug 2019
Abstract
Straw checkerboards, as a mechanical sand barrier, are one of the most important engineering measures for sand control and vegetation restoration. In this study, we characterized the physical and chemical properties of soil crust treated with straw checkerboard in the Mu Us Sandland, [...] Read more.
Straw checkerboards, as a mechanical sand barrier, are one of the most important engineering measures for sand control and vegetation restoration. In this study, we characterized the physical and chemical properties of soil crust treated with straw checkerboard in the Mu Us Sandland, Northern China, and investigated the mechanism of sand stabilization and revegetation in the arid area. We collected soil crust from 1.0 × 1.0 m straw checkerboards after revegetation intermittently over 10 years, and then measured properties such as soil particle size composition, bulk density, soil nutrients, pH, and other indicators in the laboratory. During the progress of straw checkerboard treatment, the results showed a significant decrease in percentage of soil crusts sand and a corresponding increase in the portion of silt and clay with straw checkerboard treatment years. The age of straw checkerboard treatment was positively correlated with soil nutrients, such as organic matter, total N, total P, total K, available N, available P, and available K. While pH showed a slightly rising trend, electrical conductivity (EC) was negatively correlated with crust life. The number of plant species has significantly changed, herbaceous vegetation succession being replaced by shrubs over 10 years, and vegetation coverage peaked at the sixth year. This study can represent a successful example of restoration in arid desert regions, thereby supplying more theoretical basis for sand fixation and dessert restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
Open AccessArticle
Inhibiting Effects of Vegetation on the Characteristics of Runoff and Sediment Yield on Riparian Slope along the Lower Yellow River
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3685; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133685 - 04 Jul 2019
Abstract
Riparian vegetation plays a vital role in soil and water conservation and river health maintenance. However, its inhibiting effects on water and soil loss are limited by different factors, such as slope gradient, vegetation coverage and their interaction. Therefore, this study quantified the [...] Read more.
Riparian vegetation plays a vital role in soil and water conservation and river health maintenance. However, its inhibiting effects on water and soil loss are limited by different factors, such as slope gradient, vegetation coverage and their interaction. Therefore, this study quantified the inhibiting effect of riparian vegetation on the runoff, sediment and hydraulic characteristics of overland flow, and assessed its relative contribution to slope gradient. Specifically, we selected a riparian slope along the lower Yellow River as a case, and used a field-simulated rainfall experiment under specific rainfall intensity (90 mm/h), different vegetation coverage (0%, 15% and 30%) and slope gradients (5°, 10°, 15° and 20°). The results showed that the presence of vegetation can reduce the slope runoff rate and erosion rate. However, greater slope gradients can result in a lowering of the inhibiting effects of riparian vegetation on sediment yield. There was a critical value of vegetation coverage for inhibiting eroded sediments which was influenced by the degree of slope gradient. At 15% vegetation coverage, vegetation inhibited the slope sediment yield greatly at a slope gradient of less than 8°; while at 30% vegetation coverage, vegetation greatly inhibited the slope sediment yield at slope gradients <11°. Hydraulic characteristics were closely related to the slope gradient and vegetation coverage by the power function. Grey correlation analysis revealed that, with increasing of vegetation coverage, the effect of stream power on slope sediment yield decreased, while the effect of the friction coefficient on slope sediment yield increased. In summary, riparian vegetation can effectively inhibit slope runoff and sediment yield, but its inhibiting effect is notably affected by slope gradient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Sheet and Rill Erosion of Shihmen Reservoir Watershed in Taiwan Using Machine Learning
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3615; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133615 - 01 Jul 2019
Abstract
Shihmen Reservoir watershed is vital to the water supply in Northern Taiwan but the reservoir has been heavily impacted by sedimentation and soil erosion since 1964. The purpose of this study was to explore the capability of machine learning algorithms, such as decision [...] Read more.
Shihmen Reservoir watershed is vital to the water supply in Northern Taiwan but the reservoir has been heavily impacted by sedimentation and soil erosion since 1964. The purpose of this study was to explore the capability of machine learning algorithms, such as decision tree and random forest, to predict soil erosion (sheet and rill erosion) depths in the Shihmen reservoir watershed. The accuracy of the models was evaluated using the RMSE (Root Mean Squared Error), MAE (Mean Absolute Error), and R2. Moreover, the models were verified against the multiple regression analysis, which is commonly used in statistical analysis. The predictors of these models were 14 environmental factors which influence soil erosion, whereas the target was 550 erosion pins installed at 55 locations (on 55 slopes) and monitored over a period of approximately three years. The data sets for the models were separated into 70% for the training data and 30% for the testing data, using the simple random sampling and stratified random sampling methods. The results show that the random forest algorithm performed the best of the three methods. Moreover, the stratified random sampling method had better results among the two sampling methods, as anticipated. The average error (RMSE relative to 1:1 line) of the stratified random sampling method of the random forest algorithm is 0.93 mm/yr in the training data and 1.75 mm/yr in the testing data, respectively. Finally, the random forest algorithm predicted that type of slope, slope direction, and sub-watershed are the three most important factors of the 14 environmental factors collected and used in this study for splits in the trees and thus they are the three most important factors affecting the depth of sheet and rill erosion in the Shihmen Reservoir watershed. The results of this study can be employed by decision-makers to improve soil conservation planning and watershed remediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Degradation Characteristics of Soil-Quality-Related Physical and Chemical Properties Affected by Collapsing Gully: The Case of Subtropical Hilly Region, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3369; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123369 - 18 Jun 2019
Abstract
In the subtropical hilly areas of China, a collapsing gully, a particular type of permanent gully, poses a great threat to the productivity and sustainability of the local ecological and agricultural systems. However, few studies have been performed regarding the effects of collapsing [...] Read more.
In the subtropical hilly areas of China, a collapsing gully, a particular type of permanent gully, poses a great threat to the productivity and sustainability of the local ecological and agricultural systems. However, few studies have been performed regarding the effects of collapsing gully erosion on soil degradation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of collapsing gully erosion on soil-quality-related physical and chemical properties. The collapsing gullies that were severely affected by erosion processes were considered at three stages (initial, active and stable stages) and corresponding soil samples were collected to analyze the spatial variation of the soil physical and chemical quality at each stage. The changes in the properties were assumed to be considerable in the regions affected by the erosion process compared with those unaffected by this process. Soil physical properties were more susceptible than soil nutrients to collapsing gully erosion in different spatial locations. The soil quality index (SQI) system consists of total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), pH, capillary porosity (CP), sand content (SA), soil cohesion (SC) and root density (RD). Collapsing gully erosion was found to affect the soil physical and chemical properties by progressively reducing the SQI. The mean SQI value was the lowest in the active stage of the collapsing gully, with a higher soil degradation. For the different spatial positions in the collapsing gullies, the scour channel showed the lowest SQI value. The limiting indicators varied in the different stages or spatial sites in the collapsing gullies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Human-Induced Spatial Differences of Soil Erosion Change in a Hilly Red Soil Region of Southern China
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3103; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113103 - 01 Jun 2019
Abstract
Soil erosion (SE) processes are closely related to natural conditions and human activities, posing a threat to environment and society. Identifying the human impact on regional SE changes is increasingly essential for pertinent SE management. Jiangxi province is studied here as a representative [...] Read more.
Soil erosion (SE) processes are closely related to natural conditions and human activities, posing a threat to environment and society. Identifying the human impact on regional SE changes is increasingly essential for pertinent SE management. Jiangxi province is studied here as a representative area of hilly-red-soil regions within southern China. The main objectives of this study were to investigate the changing trend of SE within Jiangxi and identify human impacts on regional SE change from the perspective of spatial differences, through a new approach based on a gravity-center model. Our results showed that SE status presented an overall amelioration from 1990 to 2015, while the average soil erosion modulus (SEM) declined from 864 to 281 Mg/(km2·a). Compared to the situation under human and natural impacts, human-induced spatial differences of SE change demonstrated that the western and northwest regions showed stronger negative effects; the southern region shifted towards negative effects; the northeast region presented a much weaker negative effect. Our results indicated that 4 cities with strong negative effects need more attention in further SE management suited to their local conditions and development, and also suggested that the approach based on a gravity-center has potential for identifying the human impact on regional SE change from the perspective of spatial patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Relationships between Riparian Vegetation Pattern and the Hydraulic Characteristics of Upslope Runoff
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102966 - 24 May 2019
Abstract
Riparian vegetation plays a vital role in inhibiting soil and water loss, but few studies have quantified the relationships between vegetation spatial pattern and the hydraulic characteristics of upslope runoff. This study investigated how hydraulic characteristics (e.g., runoff coefficient, flow regime, flow resistance, [...] Read more.
Riparian vegetation plays a vital role in inhibiting soil and water loss, but few studies have quantified the relationships between vegetation spatial pattern and the hydraulic characteristics of upslope runoff. This study investigated how hydraulic characteristics (e.g., runoff coefficient, flow regime, flow resistance, and flow shear stress of overland flow) responded to differences in vegetation cover (15% and 30%), slope gradient (5°, 10°, 15°, and 20°), and vegetation pattern in the riparian zone along the lower Yellow River, China, based on landscape pattern analysis and a runoff scouring experiment with flow rates of 9 and 15 L/min and an experimental plot size of 1 m × 3 m. We found that runoff generation on shallow slopes was moderated by increasing vegetation cover, but that this moderating effect decreased on steeper slopes. The regime of overland flow switched from laminar and subcritical on the 5° slope (Fr = 0.56–0.87) to laminar and critical on the 10°, 15°, and 20° slopes (Fr = 1.02–2.18). Flow resistance increased with vegetation cover and flow rate and decreased with slope gradients, and it was larger on shallow slopes with high vegetation cover. Flow shear stress had a range of 1.42–3.55 N m−2, and it increased with increasing slope gradient, vegetation cover, and flow rate. The hydraulic characteristics of upslope runoff, especially flow resistance, were significantly related to vegetation pattern at both the landscape and class levels. Flow resistance was negatively related to patch density, and positively related to perimeter–area fractal dimension and connectance index. The influencing mechanism of landscape patterns on soil erosion processes is dependent on the landscape scale, since the relationships between flow resistance and some landscape pattern indices (aggregation index, effective mesh size, and splitting index) were opposite at the landscape level compared to the class level. We conclude that fragmented vegetation distributions reduce flow resistance, and that riparian vegetation could be managed to inhibit slope erosion by increasing flow resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Reservoir Conservation in a Micro-Watershed in Tigray, Ethiopian Highlands
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2038; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072038 - 05 Apr 2019
Abstract
Soil erosion in Ethiopian highlands has caused land deterioration due to moving nutrient-rich top soil to downstream reservoirs while leaving reservoirs dysfunctional due to sedimentation. Micro-watershed management by removing reservoir sediments and using them for reclaiming farmland, while using reservoir water for irrigation, [...] Read more.
Soil erosion in Ethiopian highlands has caused land deterioration due to moving nutrient-rich top soil to downstream reservoirs while leaving reservoirs dysfunctional due to sedimentation. Micro-watershed management by removing reservoir sediments and using them for reclaiming farmland, while using reservoir water for irrigation, can be a potential solution to simultaneously address soil and water constraints and food security challenges. Still, there is knowledge gap before such a solution can be practically applied. The objective of this paper is to present potential solutions for the reservoir sedimentation problem and specifically highlight the utility of bathymetric survey using an echo-sounder to assess sediment volume. Our results indicated that the estimated reservoir sediment volume was 6400 m3 leading to a reclamation of 3.2 hectares by layering 0.2 m sediment. The sediment used for reclamation depicts neutral pH (7.3), high organic carbon (2.5%), available phosphorus (9.2 mg/kg) and exchangeable potassium (25 cmol(+)/kg). Garlic (Allium sativum) was planted in the reclaiming abandoned farmland and produced 7.1 t/ha of bulb on average. There is a potential of producing 2–3 horticultural crops per year. Thus, developing methods for scaling up potential farmland reclamation using reservoir sediment would contribute to degraded farmland restoration and food security in Ethiopia and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Soil Organic Matter, Total Nitrogen and Total Carbon in Sustainable Coastal Wetlands
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030667 - 28 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Soil plays an important role in coastal wetland ecosystems. The estimation of soil organic matter (SOM), total nitrogen (TN), and total carbon (TC) was investigated at the topsoil (0–20 cm) in the coastal wetlands of Dafeng Elk National Nature Reserve in Yancheng, Jiangsu [...] Read more.
Soil plays an important role in coastal wetland ecosystems. The estimation of soil organic matter (SOM), total nitrogen (TN), and total carbon (TC) was investigated at the topsoil (0–20 cm) in the coastal wetlands of Dafeng Elk National Nature Reserve in Yancheng, Jiangsu province (China) using hyperspectral remote sensing data. The sensitive bands corresponding to SOM, TN, and TC content were retrieved based on the correlation coefficient after Savitzky–Golay (S–G) filtering and four differential transformations of the first derivative (R′), first derivative of reciprocal (1/R)′, second derivative of reciprocal (1/R)″, and first derivative of logarithm (lgR)′ by spectral reflectance (R) as R′, (1/R)′, (1/R)″, (lgR)′ of soil samples. The estimation models of SOM, TN, and TC by support vector machine (SVM) and back propagation (BP) neural network were applied. The results indicated that the effective bands can be identified by S–G filtering, differential transformation, and the correlation coefficient methods based on the original spectra of soil samples. The estimation accuracy of SVM is better than that of the BP neural network for SOM, TN, and TC in the Yancheng coastal wetland. The estimation model of SOM by SVM based on (1/R)′ spectra had the highest accuracy, with the determination coefficients (R2) and root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.93 and 0.23, respectively. However, the estimation models of TN and TC by using the (1/R)″ differential transformations of spectra were also high, with determination coefficients R2 of 0.88 and 0.85, RMSE of 0.17 and 0.26, respectively. The results also show that it is possible to estimate the nutrient contents of topsoil from hyperspectral data in sustainable coastal wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of the K-Factor of USLE and Soil Erosion Estimation in Shihmen Reservoir Watershed
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020355 - 11 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The estimation of soil erosion in Taiwan and many countries of the world is based on the widely used universal soil loss equation (USLE), which includes the factor of soil erodibility (K-factor). In Taiwan, K-factor values are referenced from past research compiled in [...] Read more.
The estimation of soil erosion in Taiwan and many countries of the world is based on the widely used universal soil loss equation (USLE), which includes the factor of soil erodibility (K-factor). In Taiwan, K-factor values are referenced from past research compiled in the Taiwan Soil and Water Conservation Manual, but there is limited data for the downstream area of the Shihmen reservoir watershed. The designated K-factor from the manual cannot be directly applied to large-scale regional levels and also cannot distinguish and clarify the difference of soil erosion between small field plots or subdivisions. In view of the above, this study establishes additional values of K-factor by utilizing the double rings infiltration test and measures of soil physical–chemical properties and increases the spatial resolution of K-factor map for Shihmen reservoir watershed. Furthermore, the established values of K-factors were validated with the designated value set at Fuxing Sanmin from the manual for verifying the correctness of estimates. It is found that the comparative results agree well with established estimates within an allowable error range. Thus, the K-factors established by this study update the previous K-factor system and can be spatially estimated for any area of interest within the Shihmen reservoir watershed and improving upon past limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen at a Small Watershed Scale as the Result of Land Use Conversion on the Loess Plateau
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4757; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124757 - 13 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (total N) are important soil components for agricultural production. Soil quality is related to the total amount of SOC and total N sequestered in the soil. Land use plays a major role in the distribution and [...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (total N) are important soil components for agricultural production. Soil quality is related to the total amount of SOC and total N sequestered in the soil. Land use plays a major role in the distribution and amount of SOC and total N. This study analyses the amount of SOC and total N under various land cover types in 1987, 2005 and 2010, and evaluated their storage in land use conversions in a comprehensively managed watershed on the Loess Plateau, China. Results show that concentrations of SOC and total N in shrub land and natural grassland areas were significantly higher than for other land uses (farmland, orchard, abandoned farmland, manmade grassland) while cropland had the lowest concentration. Storage of SOC and total N increased along the revegetation chronosequence. As the storage of SOC in 2005 and 2010, they were 3461.86 × 108 and 4504.04 × 108 g respectively. Soil organic carbon storage were enhanced one third just during 5 years. The effects of land use on SOC and total N were the most significant in the upper soil layers. The correlation between SOC, total N, and the C/N ratio indicated that the best combination of land uses were natural grassland and shrub land. They efficiently influenced the distribution and storage of SOC and total N, and benefited vegetation restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Land Cover Change and Its Impact on Changes in Soil Erosion Risk in Nepal
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4715; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124715 - 11 Dec 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Land cover change is a critical driver for enhancing the soil erosion risk in Nepal. Loss of the topsoil has a direct and indirect effect on human life and livelihoods. The present study provides an assessment of the decadal land use and land [...] Read more.
Land cover change is a critical driver for enhancing the soil erosion risk in Nepal. Loss of the topsoil has a direct and indirect effect on human life and livelihoods. The present study provides an assessment of the decadal land use and land cover (LULC) change and consequent changes in the distribution of soil erosion risk for the years, 1990, 2000, and 2010, for the entire country of Nepal. The study attempted to understand how different land cover types change over the three decades and how it has changed the distribution of soil erosion risks in Nepal that would help in the development of soil conservation priority. The land cover maps were produced using geographic object-based image analysis (GEOBIA) using Landsat images. Soil erosion patterns were assessed using the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) with the land cover as the input. The study shows that the forest cover is the most dominant land cover in Nepal that comprises about 6,200,000 ha forest cover. The estimated annual erosion was 129.30 million tons in 1990 and 110.53 million tons in 2010. The assessment of soil erosion dynamics was presented at the national, provincial, and district level. District wise analysis revealed that Gulmi, Parbat, Syangja, and the Tanahu district require priority for soil conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Erosion Control in the Sustainable Cultivation of Maize (Zea mays L.) and Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) at Two Stages of the Agricultural Cycle in Southern Guatemala
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124654 - 06 Dec 2018
Abstract
Agricultural intensification in the mountains of Central America has increased soil vulnerability to erosion by water. This study was undertaken to analyse the erosion that affects the mixed cultivation of maize and beans at two stages of the crop development cycle (at 3 [...] Read more.
Agricultural intensification in the mountains of Central America has increased soil vulnerability to erosion by water. This study was undertaken to analyse the erosion that affects the mixed cultivation of maize and beans at two stages of the crop development cycle (at 3 and 6 months after sowing) in southern Guatemala, together with the influence of the ground and crop canopy vegetal cover on soil erosion. The main aim of this analysis is to establish the soil erosion threshold enabling sustainable agriculture. The results obtained show that the soil surface was severely eroded, with mean values of area affected of 88.4% and 73.5% at 3 and 6 months, respectively. In the 3-month plots, the erosion bore scant relation to the factors analysed. Conversely, the area affected by soil erosion in the 6-month plots was significantly related to the degree of ground cover by weeds and litter, and the erosion threshold was located at 80% of vegetal cover. However, plots with this level of cover did not achieve effective erosion control, due to the low level of plant litter cover (15.7%) compared to that of weeds (75.5%). We conclude that this low content of vegetal residue in the soil, together with the tillage practices employed, explains the large surface area affected by erosion and the impossibility of establishing an erosion threshold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Sustainability of the Territories Affected by Gully Head Advancements through Aerial Photography and Modeling Estimations: A Case Study on Samal Watershed, Iran
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2909; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082909 - 16 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Gully erosion is considered one of the major issues of land sustainability because it can remove considerable volumes of sediment and productive soils. Once started, gullies can continue to move by headcut retreat, or slumping of the side walls. Studies of gully development [...] Read more.
Gully erosion is considered one of the major issues of land sustainability because it can remove considerable volumes of sediment and productive soils. Once started, gullies can continue to move by headcut retreat, or slumping of the side walls. Studies of gully development require constant monitoring activities which are not possible in not-well-explored areas, such as the arduous region of Iran, due to costs and a lack of geoinformation. Thus, the present research attempts to assess gully evolution using only two digital aerial photographs of different periods (1968 and 1994) and field assessment (2009) to estimate the gully head advancement based on frames geometry and rigorous procedure in southwestern Iran. Also, the gully head advancement was estimated and compared among them by different empirical equations. The results indicated that the mean of gully head advancement was 1.4 m year−1 and 1.2 m year−1 during 1968–1994 and 1994–2009, respectively, and the annual average of sediment mobilization was 26.8 m3 ha−1 in 2009. The model assessment indexes indicated that SCS (Soil Conservation Service) II was the best model for gully head advancement estimations in this study area. The main reasons for this can be associated with the Rp factor (previous gully head advancement) and the local environmental conditions. We conclude that the sustainability of the territory has been greatly affected due to this advancement. We also hypothesize that gully head changes could be related to the susceptibility of geological formations, climate, soil properties, and the coincidence of other gullies’ formation with common drainage networks in the study area. Based on the obtained results, land managers can use the results to distinguish the gullies in this region with a higher environmental risk, and to decide an effective implementation of soil conservation measures in order to include them in the land management plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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