Preventing desertification

  1. Mitigating soil erosion through straw mulching on agricultural land

  2. Reclamation methods to increase land resilience to soil erosion by wind

1) Spain Case Study - Mitigating soil erosion on agricultural land

The Spanish Case Study tested the impact of mulching with straw on soil and water losses.
Strawmulch Mulch experiment
Straw mulching experiment to prevent soil erosion

 Final Results

 The main results from the experiments were:

  • The control (bare) plots under traditional tillage show a runoff yield of 46.4 mm year-1 out of the 413.9 mm of rainfall. The straw mulch covered
    plots deliver 28.5 mm.
  • The use of straw reduces the water losses from 11.5 to 7.5 % of the rainfall.
  • The straw mulch reduced soil erosion by one order of magnitude: from 11.4 to 1.9 Mg ha-1 y-1.
  • The cost of the use of straw mulch was 145 € per ha.
  • Straw mulch improved soil moisture, soil water infiltration, reduced runoff and then the risk of floods and covered the soil.                                            
  •    RunoffResultsSoilErosionResults

Further details about this experiment can be found in the fact sheet HERE and in the project report HERE

Scientific articles

Alicia Morugán-Coronado, Fuensanta García-Orenes, Artemi Cerdà (2015) Changes in soil microbial activity and physiochemical properties in agricultural soils in Eastern Spain. Spanish Journal of Soil Science Vol 5, No. 3 DOI: 10.3232/SJSS.2015.V5.N3.02

Prosdocimi M, Burguet M, Di Prima S, Sofia G, Terol Esparza E, Rodrigo Comino J, Cerdà A, Tarolli P (2017) Rainfall simulation and Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry for the analysis of soil water erosion in Mediterranean vineyards. Published in: Science of the Total Environment, 2017, 574, 204-215 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716319532

Prosdocimi, M., Tarolli, P., Cerdà, A (2016) Mulching practices for reducing soil water erosion: A review. Published in: Earth-Science Reviews, 2016, 161: 191–203 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012825216302264

Cerdà, A., González-Pelayo, O., Giménez-Morera, A., Jordán, A., Pereira, P., Novara, A., Brevik, E.C., Prosdocimi, M., Mahmoodabadi, M., Keesstra, S., García Orenes, F., Ritsema, C. (2016) The use of barley straw residues to avoid high erosion and runoff rates on persimmon plantations in Eastern Spain under low frequency – high magnitude simulated rainfall events. Published in: Soil Res, 2016, 54, 2, 154-165 http://www.publish.csiro.au/sr/sr15092

Keesstra, S., P. Pereira, A. Novara, E. C. Brevik, C. Azorin-Molina, L. Parras-Alcántara, A. Jordán, and A. Cerdà (2016) Effects of Soil Management Techniques on Soil Water Erosion in Apricot Orchards. Published in: Science of the Total Environment, 2016.  551-552: 357- 336 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716301784 

Rodrigo Comino, J., T. Iserloh, T. Lassu, A. Cerdà, S. D. Keesstra, M. Prosdocimi, C. Brings, et al. (2016) Quantitative Comparison of Initial Soil Erosion Processes and Runoff Generation in Spanish and German Vineyards. Published in: Science of the Total Environment, 2016, 565: 1165-1174  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716310932

Rodrigo Comino J, Iserloh T, Morvan X, Malam Issa O, Naisse C, Keesstra SD, Cerdà A, Prosdocimi M, Arnáez J, Lasanta T, Ramos MC, Marqués MJ, Ruiz Colmenero M, Bienes R, Ruiz Sinoga JD, Seeger M, Ries JB (2016) Soil Erosion Processes in European Vineyards: A Qualitative Comparison of Rainfall Simulation Measurements in Germany, Spain and France. Published in: Hydrology, 2016, 3 (1), 6; http://www.mdpi.com/2306-5338/3/1/6/htm

 For more information about this RECARE experiment, please contact Artemi CerdaThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

2) Iceland Case Study - reclamation methods to increase land resilience to soil erosion by wind

The researchers in Iceland tested the effectiveness of various selected land reclamation methods with respect to increased land resilience.  Different methods were applied, including synthetic fertilizer, organic fertilizer (bone meal), grass seeding, lupine seeding, tree establishment.
fig83
A land reclamation area in the Hekluskógar area. This is an old active sand advancing front that has been stabilized with Lyme grass (Leymus arenarius)

Final results:

results2

The figure shows how treatments responded variously from zero to 2 t/ha biomass.                         

The data suggest there are advantages of using organic fertilizer if seed sources are present. It is slow releasing and provides carry-over effects for at least two growing seasons. The resulting vegetation cover is stable and provides good protection for seedlings, even though rapid changes in soil C/N ratios after the first two years result in reduced grass growth. Long-term effects of birch and lupine on biomass are also considerable. The highest biomass is currently observed in the Leymus sand dune treatments – which provide optimal conditions for Leymus grass. (see photos below).

 Control, no restoration treatment (left) and leymus treatment year 2000 (right) area: dunes
result pic1
 Control (left) and lupines treatment year 2000 (right) area: million  result pic2
 Control (left) and bone meal treatment year 2014 (right) area: kot  result pic3

Further details about this experiment can be found in the fact sheet HERE and in the project report HERE

For more informaiton about the RECARE experiment, please contact Jóhann Þórsson This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.