Determining the potential impacts of fire and different land uses on splash erosion

María Fernández-Raga, Estefanía García Gutiérrez, Saskia D. Keesstra, Reyes Tárrega, João P. Nunes, Elena Marcos, Jesús Rodrigo-Comino*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This research aimed to estimate the splash erosion and its evolution during the first months in specific land uses after a forest fire. The study area was located in Congosto (North-West Spain), after a wildfire occurred in May 2012, which burned 15.56 ha of scrubland and Pinus reforestation. Two different burned land uses were selected and compared to control areas: i) burned pine forest; and, scrublands. Rainfall intensity and the number, sizes and speed of raindrops were measured by an optical disdrometer and soil loss by funnels. Moreover, infiltration, soil moisture content, aggregate stability, water repellence, pH and organic matter were also measured. Results showed that the highest soil losses occurred in the burned areas, especially in the scrubland plots. The most influential factors were the presence of bare soil and the very low vegetation recovery rate. Changes in soil properties did not significantly influence splash erosion, although an increase in the presence of smaller classes of aggregates could promote erosion in the scrubland. We conclude that the vegetation ecosystem restoration is the key issue to be considered after a wildfire, especially, in those types of land uses which are severely affected by the fire.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104419
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume186
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Ecosystem recovery
  • Soils
  • Splash erosion
  • Wildfire

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