The response of soil erosion and sediment export to land use change in four areas of Europe: the importance of landscape pattern

M.M. Bakker, G. Govers, A.M. van Doorn, F. Quetier, M.D.A. Chouvardas, M.D.A. Rounsevell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

201 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The response of erosion and sediment export to past land-use change has been studied in four agricultural areas of Europe. Three of these areas were subject to land abandonment or de-intensification and one to intensification of land-use practices. Erosion and sediment yield were modeled using the WaTEM/SEDEM model, which combines the RUSLE equation with a sediment routing algorithm. Spatial relationships between the RUSLE C-factor (i.e. land-use) and other erosion and sediment export-determining factors (slope, soil erodibility and distance to rivers) were investigated, as these account for non-linearity in the response of erosion and sediment export to land-use change. Erosion and sediment export have decreased enormously in the de-intensified areas, but slightly increased in the intensively cultivated area. The spatial pattern of land-use change in relation to other erosion and sediment export-determining factors appears to have a large impact on the response of soil erosion and sediment export to land-use change. That the drivers of abandonment of arable land and erosion coincide indicates that de-intensification leads to a more favourable landscape pattern with respect to reduction of erosion and sediment export. This mechanism applies not only within the study areas, but also among the European study areas where the process of intensification of some areas and de-intensification of others might result in an overall decrease of erosion and sediment yield through time
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-226
JournalGeomorphology
Volume98
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • crop productivity
  • loss equation
  • wheat yields
  • spain
  • water

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