Advertisement

Environmentalist

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 309–319 | Cite as

Soil-erosion and runoff prevention by plant covers in a mountainous area (se spain): Implications for sustainable agriculture

  • V. H. Durán ZuazoEmail author
  • J. R. Francia Martínez
  • C. R. Rodríguez Pleguezuelo
  • A. Martínez Raya
  • B. Carcéles Rodríguez
Article

Abstract

In the Mediterranean region the intensities and amounts of soil loss and runoff on sloping land are governed by rainfall pattern and vegetation cover. Over a two-year period (1998–1999), six wild species of aromatic and mellipherous plants (Thymus serpylloides subsp. Gadorensis, Thymus baeticus Boiss, Salvia lavandulifolia Vahl., Santolina rosmarinifolia L., Lavandula stoechas L. and Genista umbellata Poiret) were selected for erosion plots to determine their effectiveness in reducing water erosion on hillslopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain (SE Spain). The erosion plots (including a bare-soil plot as control), located at 1,345 m in altitude, were 2 m2 (2 m × 1 m) in area and had 13% incline. The lowest runoff and soil erosion rates, ranging from 9 to 26 mm yr−1 and from 0.01 to 0.31 Mg ha−1 yr−1, respectively, over the entire study period, were measured under the Thymus serpylloides. Lavandula stoechas L. registered the highest rates among the plant covers tested, runoff ranging from 77 to 127 mm yr−1 and erosion from 1.67 to 3.50 Mg ha−1 yr−1. In the bare-soil plot, runoff ranged from 154 to 210 mm yr−1 and erosion from 4.45 to 7.82 Mg ha−1 yr−1. According to the results, the lowest-growing plant covers (Thymus serpylloides and Salvia lavandulifolia Vahl.) discouraged the soil erosion and runoff more effectively than did the taller and open medium-sized shrubs (Santolina rosmarinifolia L., Genista umbellata Poiret, Thymus baeticus Boiss and Lavandula stoechas L.). Monitoring allowed more direct linkage to be made between plant covers and the prevention of erosion, with implications for sustainable mountain agriculture and environmental protection.

Keywords

Aromatic shrubs Erosion Runoff Plant covers Mountainous agroecosystem 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Albadalejo, J., Martínez, M.M., Roldan, A., and Castillo, V.: 1998, ‘Soil Degradation and Desertification Induced by Vegetation Removal in a Semiarid Environment,’ Soil Use Manag. 14, 1–5.Google Scholar
  2. Andreu, V., Rubio, J.L., and Cerni, R.: 1998, ‘Effects of Mediterranean Shrub Cover on Water Erosion (Valencia Spain),’ J. Soil Water Conserv. 53, 112–120.Google Scholar
  3. Aranda, V. and Oyonarte, C.: 2005, ‘Effect of Vegetation with Different Evolution Degree on Soil Organic Matter in a Semi-arid Environment (Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, SE Spain),’ J. Arid Environ. 62, 631–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bochet, E., Rubio, J.L., and Poesen, J.: 1998, ‘Relative Efficiency of Three Representative Matorral Species in Reducing Water Erosion at the Microscale in a Semi-Arid Climate (Valencia, Spain),’ Geomorphology 23, 139–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brandt, C.J.: 1990, ‘Simulation of the Size Distribution and Erosivity of Raindrops and Through Fall Drops,’ Earth Surf. Processes Landforms 15, 687–698.Google Scholar
  6. Blackburn, W.H., Pierson, F.B., Hanson, C.L., Thurow, T.L. and Hanson, A.L.: 1992, ‘The Spatial and Temporal Influence of Vegetation on Surface Soil Factors in Semi-Arid Rangelands,’ Trans. ASAE 35, 479–486.Google Scholar
  7. Blanco, E., Fernández, M.D., and Muñoz, F.: 1996, Plantas medicinales. Incidencia ambiental y económica del uso de las plantas aromáticas y medicinales en España. Informe Técnico, Adena Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza, Madrid, Spain.Google Scholar
  8. Blanco, E., Morales, R., and Pellin, R.: 1998, ‘Harvesting and Trade of Thymus in Spain. in TRAFFIC Europe (ed.), Medicinal plant trade in Europe: conservation and supply’, in Proceedings of 1-st International Symposium on the Conservation of Medicinal Plants in Trade, Brussels, Belgium, pp. 50–54.Google Scholar
  9. Casermeiro, M.A., de la Cruz Caravaca, M.T., Costa, J.H., Massanet, M.I.H., Molina, J.A., and Sánchez, P.: 2002, ‘El papel de los tomillares (Thymus vulgaris L.) en la protección de la erosión del suelo,’ Anales de Biología 24, 81–87.Google Scholar
  10. Casermeiro, M.A., Molina, J.A., de la Cruz Caravaca, M.T., Costa, J.H., Massanet, M.I.H., and Moreno, P.S.: 2004, ‘Influence of Scrubs on Runoff and Sediment Loss in Soils of Mediterranean Climate,’ Catena 57, 91–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cerda, A.: 1999, ‘Parent Material and Vegetation Affect Soil Erosion in Eastern Spain,’ Sci. Soc. Amer. J. 63, 362–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dadkah, M. and Gifford, G.F.: 1980, ‘Influence of Vegetation, Rock Cover, and Trampling on Infiltration Rates and Sediment Production,’ Water Resour. Bull. 16, 979–986.Google Scholar
  13. Durán, Z.V.H., Francia, M.J.R., and Martínez, R.A.: 2004a, ‘Impact of Vegetative Cover on Runoff and Soil Erosion at Hillslope Scale in Lanjaron, Spain,’ The Environmentalist 24, 39–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Durán, Z.V.H., Martínez, R.A., and Aguilar, R.J.: 2004b, ‘Nutrient Losses by Runoff and Sediment from the Taluses of Orchard Terraces,’ Water, Air Soil Pollut. 153, 355–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dunkerley, D.L., Domelow, P., and Tooth, D.: 2001, ‘Frictional Retardation of Laminar Flow by Plant Litter and Surface Stones on Dryland Surfaces: A Laboratory Study,’ Water Resour. Res. 37, 1417–1424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dunkerley, D.L.: 2003, ‘Organic Litter: Dominance Over Stones as a Source of Interrill Flow Roughness on Low-Gradient Desert Slopes at Fowlers Gap, Arid Western NSW, Australia,’ Earth Surf. Processes Landforms 28, 15–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eswaran, H., Reich, P., and Kapur, S.: 1999, ‘Land Quality and Vulnerability to Desertification in the Mediterranean Region,’ in J. Bech (ed.), Sixth International Meeting on Soils with Mediterranean type of Climate. Extended Abstracts of the University of Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain, pp. 1009–1011.Google Scholar
  18. Fenton, T.E., Kazemi, M., and Lauterbach-Barret, M.A.: 2005, ‘Erosional impact on organic matter content and productivity of selected Iowa soils,’ Soil Till. Res. (In press).Google Scholar
  19. Francia, J.R., Ruiz, G.S., Cárceles, B., and Martínez, R.A.: 2002, ‘Evolution of the Runoff Coefficients and the Soil Loss for Different Harvest Intensities of the Species Lavandula lanata & Origanum bastetanum,’ in J. Faz, R. Ortiz and A.R. Mermut (eds.), Sustainable Use and Management of Soils in Arid and Semi-arid Regions, Cartagena, Spain, Vol. II. pp. 253–254.Google Scholar
  20. Francia, J.R., Durán, Z.V.H., and Martínez, R.A.: 2006, ‘Environmental Impact from Mountainous Olive Orchards under Different Soil-Management Systems (SE Spain),’ Sci. Total Environ. 358, 46–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Frye, W.W., Ebelhar, S.S., Murdock, L.W., and Blevens, L.E.: 1982, ‘Soil Erosion Effects on Properties and Productivity of two Kentucky Soils,’ Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. J. 46, 1051–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fullen, M.A.:1991, ‘A Comparison of Runoff and Erosion Rates on Bare and Grassed Loamy Sand Soils,’ Soil Use Manag. 7, 136–139.Google Scholar
  23. García, R.J.M., Lasanta, T., Ortigosa, L., Ruiz, F.P., Mart, C., and González, C.: 1995, ‘Sediment Yield Under Different Land Uses in the Spanish Pyrenees,’ Mountain Res. Develop. 15, 229–240.Google Scholar
  24. Geddes, N. and Dunkerley, D.L.: 1999, ‘The Influence of Organic Litter on the Erosive Effects of Raindrops and of Gravity Drops Released from Desert Shrubs,’ Catena 36, 303–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gutiérrez, J., and Hernández, I.I.: 1996, ‘Runoff and Interrill Erosion as Affected by Grass Cover in a Semi-Arid Rangeland of Northern Mexico,’ J. Arid Environ. 34, 287–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. GLASOD: 1990, Global Assessment of Soil Degradation, World Map, ISRIC Wageningen, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  27. Hofmann, L.K. and Ries, R.E.: 1991, ‘Relationship of Soil and Plant to Erosion and Runoff on Pasture and Range,’ J. Soil Water Conserv. 41, 243–247.Google Scholar
  28. Imeson, A.C.: 1990, Climate fluctuations and soil erosion under Mediterranean conditions, Technical Report, International University, Méndez Pelayo, Valencia, Spain.Google Scholar
  29. Imeson, A.C.: 1995, ‘The Physical, Chemical and Biological Degradation of the Soil,’ in R. Fatechi, D. Peter, P. Balabanis and J.L. Rubio (eds.), Desertification in the European context: Physical and socio-economic aspects, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium, pp. 153–168.Google Scholar
  30. Johnson, C.W., Schumaker, G.A., and Smith, J.P.: 1980, ‘Effects of Grazing and Sagebrush Control on Potential Erosion,’ J. Range Manag. 33, 451–454.Google Scholar
  31. Lal, R.: 1998, ‘Soil Erosion Impact on Agronomic Productivity and Environment Quality,’ Critical Rev. Plant Sci. 17, 319–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lange, D.: 1998, Europe’s medicinal and aromatic plants: their use, trade and conservation. TRAFFIC International, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  33. López, B.F.: 1990, ‘Soil Erosion by Water on the Desertification of a Semi-Arid Mediterranean Fluvial Basin: The Segura Basin, Spain,’ Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 33, 129–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. López, B.F., Romero, D.A., Martínez, J.F., and Martínez, J.F.: 1998, ‘Vegetation and Soil Erosion Under Semi-Arid Mediterranean Climate: A Case Study from Murcia (Spain),’ Geomorphology 24, 51–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Low, A.J.: 1992, ‘The Effect of Cultivation on the Structure and Other Physical Characteristics of Frassland and Arable Soils,’ J. Soil Sci. 23, 363–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Martínez, R.A., Francia, J.R., Martínez, V.A., Ruiz, S., and Aguilar, J.R.: 2001, ‘Evaluation of Protection Soil with Different Plant Covers,’ in T.L. García, J. Benítez and V.A. Martínez (eds.), Conservation Agriculture, a World Challenge, ECAF-FAO, Vol. 2, Madrid, Spain, pp. 431–434.Google Scholar
  37. Martínez, R.A., Ruiz, S., Cárceles, B., Durán, Z.V.H., Francia, J.R., and Arroyo, P.L.: 2002 a, ‘Comparison of Two Cultivation Techniques in Olive Groves with Untilled Soil, Green Cover and on Slopes with Inclinations Greater than 25%,’ in F.J. Villalobos and L. Testi, L. (eds.), Proceedings VII ESA Congress of the European Society for Agronomy, Cordoba, Spain, pp. 519–520.Google Scholar
  38. Martínez, R.A., Francia, J.R., Martínez, V.A., and Ruiz, S.: 2002 b, ‘Soil Conservation Techniques in the Cultivation of Perennials on Steep Slopes in Semi-Arid Ecosystems,’ in J.L. Rubio, R.P.C. Morgan, A. Sins and V. Andreu (eds.), Proceedings of the third International Congress Man and Soil at the Third Millennium, Logroño, Spain, pp. 779–786.Google Scholar
  39. Martínez, R.A., Durán, Z.V.H., and Francia, J.R.: 2006, ‘Soil Erosion and Runoff Response to Plant-Cover Strips on Semi-Arid Slopes (SE Spain),’ Land Degr. Develop. 17, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. MAPA: 1971, Métodos Oficiales de Análisis,Tomo III Secretaria General Técnica del Ministerio de Agricultura Pesca y Alimentación, Madrid, Spain.Google Scholar
  41. Meentemeyer, V., Box, E.O., and Thompson, R.: 1982, ‘World Patterns and Amounts of Terrestrial Plant Litter Production,’ Biosci. 32, 125–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Morgan, W. and Lal, R.: 2003, ‘Soil Organic Carbon in Relation to Cultivation and Topsoil Removal on Sloping Lands of Kolombangara, Solomon Islands,’ Soil Till. Res. 70, 19–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nicolau, J.M., Sole-Benet, A., Puidefabregas, J., and Gutierrez, L.: 1996, ‘Effects of Soil and Vegetation on Runoff Along a Catena in Semiarid Spain,’ Geomorphology 14, 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pimentel, D.E.C., Terhune, D.H.R., Rochereau, S., Smais, R., Smith, E.A., Deuman, D., Reifschneider, D., and Shepard, M.: 1976, ‘Land Degradation: Effects on Food and Energy Resources,’ Science 194, 149–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Puígdefábregas, J.: 2005, ‘The Role of Vegetation Patterns in Structuring Runoff and Sediment Fluxes in Drylands,’ Earth Surf. Processes Landforms 30, 133–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ramos, M.C., Nacci, S., and Pla, I.: 2000, ‘Soil Sealing and its Influence on Erosion Rates for Some Soils in the Mediterranean Area,’ Soil Sci. 165, 398–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sala, M.: 1988, ‘Slope Runoff and Sediment Production in two Mediterranean Mountain Environments’ Catena Suppl. 12, 13–29.Google Scholar
  48. Sánchez, M.M., Soriano, M., Delgado, G., and Delgado, R.: 2002, ‘Soil Quality in Mediterranean Mountain Environments: Effects of Land Use Change,’ Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. J. 66, 948–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schlesinger, W.H., Reynolds, J.F., Cunningham, G.L., Huenneke, L.F., Jarrell, W.M., Virginia, R.A., and Whitford, W.G.: 1990, ‘Biological Feedbacks in Global Desertification,’ Science 247, 1043–1048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Simanton, J.R., Weltz, M.A., and Larsen, H.D.: 1991, ‘Range Land Experiments to Parameterize the Water Erosion Prediction Project Model: Vegetation Canopy Effects,’ J. Range Manag. 44, 276–282.Google Scholar
  51. Soil Survey Staff: 1999, Soil Taxonomy. A Basic System of Soil Classification for Making and Interpreting Soil Surveys, Agric. Handbook N 436, USDA-US.Google Scholar
  52. Thurow, T.L., Blackburn, W.H., and Taylor, C.H.: 1986, ‘Hydrological Characteristics of Vegetation Types as Affected by Livestock Grazing Systems, Edward Plateau Texas,’ J. Range Manag. 39, 505–509.Google Scholar
  53. UNEP: 1991, World atlas of desertification. United Nations Environmental Programme. Edward Arnold, London, UK.Google Scholar
  54. Verlet, N.: 1992, ‘The World Herbs and Essential Oils Economy-Analysis of a Medium term Development,’ Acta Hortic. 306, 474–481.Google Scholar
  55. Vitosuek, P.M.: 1998, ‘Foliar and litter Nutrients, Nutrient Resorption, and Decomposition in Hawaiian Metrosideros polymorpha,’ Ecosystems 1, 401–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Weiss, E.A.: 1997. Essential Oil Crops. CAB International. Oxon, UK.Google Scholar
  57. Wijesekera, R.O.B.: 1991, The Medicinal Plant Industry. CRC Press. Boca Raton. Ann Arbor. Boston, London, UK.Google Scholar
  58. Wischmeier, W.H. and Smith, D.D.: 1978, Predicting rainfall erosion losses: a guide to conservation planning. USDA-ARS Agric. Handbook, 537, Washington, US.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. H. Durán Zuazo
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. R. Francia Martínez
    • 1
  • C. R. Rodríguez Pleguezuelo
    • 1
  • A. Martínez Raya
    • 1
  • B. Carcéles Rodríguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación y Formación Agraria de GranadaGranadaSpain

Personalised recommendations