A new approach to soil erosion and runoff in South Limburg - The Netherlands

H.J. Winteraeken, W.P. Spaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The southern part of the Province of Limburg in The Netherlands is a region with gentle slopes, generally covered with loess sediments. The rural areas consist partly of arable land, grasslands with forests on the steeper slopes. Winter cereals, maize, sugar beet and potatoes are the most common crops. Especially on the fields where traditional ploughing techniques are used, the loessic silty loam soil is vulnerable to relatively high runoff and soil erosion. Without taking measurements, observations suggest that regularly occurring heavy rainfall events cause muddy floods and flooding of the villages in the valleys, and climate change in the future can be assumed to produce even more erosive rainfall. In the last two decades authorities agreed that protection of urban areas against flooding should be better guaranteed, and about 350 rainwater retention basins have been constructed to prevent flooding of urban areas and other important infrastructures. The other type of control measures that could decrease the muddy flooding frequency are reviewed here. It is concluded that the construction of additional rainwater basins or the enlarging of existing basins will be less necessary if farmers change their conventional ploughing into reduced conservation tillage (or non-inversion tillage) in combination with mulching, since more rainwater will infiltrate into the soil and less runoff and soil erosion will take place. Since January 2009, this model is being slowly adopted, and now the general policy is to introduce conservation tillage with mulching or measures with comparable effect
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-352
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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