A comparison of measured catchment sediment yields with measured and predicted hillslope erosion rates in Europe
- 527 Downloads
This study aims to understand better the relationship between measured soil loss rates due to sheet and rill erosion (SL), predicted SL rates and measured catchment sediment yields (SY) in Europe.
Materials and methods
Analyses were based on a recently established database of measured annual SY for 1794 catchments, a database of 777 annual SL rates measured on runoff plots and two recent maps of predicted sheet and rill erosion rates in Europe (i.e. one based on empirical extrapolations of measured SL data and one based on the PESERA model). To identify regional trends, all data were grouped into eight climatic zones.
Results and discussion
Measured SL rates are generally a factor of five to ten times larger than predicted SL rates and are strongly biased towards erosion-prone situations in terms of land use. Also measured SY are generally higher than predicted SL rates, especially in the Mediterranean and Alpine regions where SY is generally ten times higher than predicted SL rates. This illustrates the importance of other erosion processes contributing to SY. Regional differences in the importance of these processes and their implications are discussed.
This study confirms previous findings indicating the relatively low sheet and rill erosion rates compared to SY in the Mediterranean region and illustrates the importance of other erosion processes contributing to SY in most regions of Europe. This indicates that hillslope erosion rates cannot be used directly to estimate SY, and consequently soil conservation programmes should focus more on the dominant erosion processes in each catchment.
KeywordsPlot soil loss Scale dependency Sediment sources Sheet and rill erosion Soil erosion model
The research described in this paper was conducted within the framework of the EC-DG RTD-6th Framework Research Programme (sub-priority 188.8.131.52)–Research on Desertification—project DESIRE (037046): Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of land—a global approach for local solutions. M. Vanmaercke received grant-aided support from the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO), Belgium. The authors wish to thank the many researchers and institutes who provided data, publications or additional information on the sediment yield and soil loss rate measurements discussed in this study. Furthermore, this manuscript benefited a lot from the constructive comments of three anonymous reviewers.
- Beguería S, López-Moreno JI, Lorente A, Seeger M, García-Ruiz JM (2003) Assessing the effects of climate oscillations and land-use changes on streamflow in the Central Spanish Pyrenees. Ambio 32:283–286Google Scholar
- Boardman J (1998) An average soil erosion rate for Europe: myth or reality? J Soil Water Conservat 53:46–50Google Scholar
- Cerdan O, Govers G, Le Bissonnais Y, Van Oost K, Poesen J, Saby N, Gobin A, Vacca A, Quinton J, Auerswald K, Klik A, Kwaad F, Raclot D, Ionita I, Rejman J, Rousseva S, Muxart T, Roxo M, Dostal T (2010) Rates and spatial variations of soil erosion in Europe: a study based on erosion plot data. Geomorphology 122:167–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dedkov A (2004) The relationship between sediment yield and drainage basin area. In: Golosov V, Belyaev V, Walling D (eds) Sediment transfer through the fluvial system, publ. 288. IAHS, Wallingford, pp 197–204Google Scholar
- Dedkov AP, Moszherin VI (1992) Erosion and sediment yield in mountain regions of the world. In: Walling D, Davies R, Hasholt B (eds) Erosion, debris flow and environment in mountain regions, publ. 209. IAHS, Wallingford, pp 29–36Google Scholar
- Dietrich WE, Bellugi DG, Sklar LS, Stock JD, Heimsath AM, Roering JJ (2003) Geomorphic transport laws for predicting landscape form and dynamics. AGU Geophys Monogr 135:1–30Google Scholar
- Favis-Mortlock D (1998) Validation of field-scale soil erosion models using common datasets. In: Boardman J, Favis-Mortlock D (eds) Modelling soil erosion by water. NATO-ASI Series I-55, Springer, Berlin, pp. 89-127Google Scholar
- García-Ruiz JM, Lana-Renault N, Beguería S, Lasanta T, Regüés D, Nadal-Romero E, Serrano-Muela P, López-Moreno JI, Alvera B, Martí-Bono C, Alatorre LC (2010) From plot to regional scales: interactions of slope and catchment hydrological and geomorphic processes in the Spanish Pyrenees. Geomorphology 120:248–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hovius N, Stark CP, Hao-Tsu C, Jiun-Chuan L (2000) Supply and Removal of Sediment in a Landslide-Dominated Mountain Belt: Central Range, Taiwan. The Journal of Geology 108: 73–89Google Scholar
- Keefer DK (1995) Landslides caused by earthquakes. Geol Soc Am Bull 95:406–421Google Scholar
- Kirkby MJ, Jones RJA, Irvine B, Gobin A, Govers G, Cerdan O, Van Rompaey AJJ, Le Bissonnais Y, Daroussin J, King D, Montanarella L, Grimm M, Vieillefont V, Puigdefabregas J, Boer M, Kosmas C, Yassoglou N, Tsara M, Mantel S, Van Lynden GJ, Huting J (2004) Pan-European soil erosion risk assessment: the PESERA map, version 1 October 2003. Explanation of Special Publication Ispra 2004 no.73 (S.P.I.04.73). European Soil Bureau Research Report no. 16, Luxembourg, EUR 21176, 18 pp. + 1 mapGoogle Scholar
- Maetens W, Vanmaercke M, Poesen J (2009) Assessment of the effectiveness of soil and water conservation measures in reducing runoff and soil loss: establishment of a European database. In: Romero Diaz A, Belmonte Serrate F, Alonso Sarria F, López Bermúdez F (eds) Advances in studies on desertification. Contributions to the international conference on desertification in memory of professor John B. Thornes, ICOD, Murcia 2009, pp 303–306Google Scholar
- Maetens W, Poesen J, Vanmaercke M (2011). Confrontation of the PESERA map with measured soil loss rates at plot scale. EGU General Assembly 2011. Geophysical Research Abstracts 13: 228Google Scholar
- Renard K, Foster G, Weesies G, McCool D, Yoder D (1997) Predicting soil erosion by water: a guide to conservation planning with the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Agriculture handbook No 703, 384 ppGoogle Scholar
- Renwick WH, Andereck ZD (2006) Reservoir sedimentation trends in Ohio, USA: sediment delivery and response to land-use change. In: Rowen JS, Duck RW, Werritty A (eds) Sediment dynamics and the hydromorphology of fluvial systems, publ 306. IAHS, Wallingford, pp 341–347Google Scholar
- Stanners D, Bourdeau P (1995) Europe’s environment—the Dobris assessment, European Environment Agency. Available online: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/92-826-5409-5
- Van Den Eeckhaut M, Hervás J, Jaedicke C, Malet J-P, Picarelli L (2010) Calibration of logistic regression coefficients from limited landslide inventory data for European-wide landslide susceptibility modelling. In: Malet J-P, Glade T, Casagli N (eds) Proc. Int. conference mountain risks: bringing science to society, Florence, Italy, 24–26 November 2010. CERG, Strasbourg, pp 515–521Google Scholar
- Van Rompaey A, Vieillefont V, Jones R, Montanarella L, Verstraeten G, Bazzoffi P, Dostal T, Krasa J, de Vente J, Poesen J (2003) Validation of soil erosion estimates at European scale. European Soil Bureau Research, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, EUR 20827 EN, 24 ppGoogle Scholar
- Verstraeten G, Van Oost K, Van Rompaey A, Poesen J, Govers G (2002) Evaluating an integrated approach to catchment management to reduce soil loss and sediment pollution through modelling. Soil Use Manag 19:386–394Google Scholar
- Walling DE, Collins AL (2005) Suspended sediment sources in British rivers. In: Walling DE, Horowitz AJ (eds) Sediment budgets 1, publ. 291. IAHS, Wallingford, pp 123–133Google Scholar
- Woodward JC (1995) Patterns of erosion and suspended sediment yield in Mediterranean river basins. In: Foster I, Gurnell A, Webb B (eds) Sediment and water quality in river catchments. Wiley, Chichester, pp 365–389Google Scholar