Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    We will mail you new results for this query: keywords==Mediterranean
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Policies can help to apply successful strategies to control soil and water losses. The case of chipped pruned branches (CPB) in Mediterranean citrus plantations
Cerdà, A. ; Rodrigo-Comino, J. ; Giménez-Morera, A. ; Novara, A. ; Pulido, M. ; Kapović-Solomun, M. ; Keesstra, S.D. - \ 2018
Land Use Policy 75 (2018). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 734 - 745.
Citrus - Erosion - Mediterranean - Mulches - Runoff - Soil
There is a need to devise management strategies that control soil and water losses in agriculture land to allow the design of proper policies to achieve sustainability. It is the responsibility of scientists to work with other actors to co-construct strategies that will lead to sustainable land-use policies. Using chipped pruned branches (CPB) as mulch can be a viable option because they represent local (in situ) organic material that can restore soil nutrients and organic matter. This research assesses: i) the perception of farmers towards different types of management strategies and CPB's costs; ii) the biomass yield of citrus branches and the impact of CPB on soil properties; iii) how CPB affects soil erosion and runoff generation in citrus plantations; and, iv) a discussion about how to favour the use of CPB thought successful policies. To achieve those goals we carried out: i) one-hundred interviews to assess the perception of farmers and twelve interviews to assess the economic balance of twelve land owners; ii) soil was sampled at 0–2 and 4–6 cm depths; iii) pruned material was surveyed for 40 trees; and iv) forty rainfall simulation experiments (55 mm h−1) were carried out in two citrus plantations at paired sites (Control versus CPB), in La Costera District in Eastern Spain. Forty circular (0.25 m2) plots were installed in four rows (4 × 5 = 20 plots) in control (CON) and CPB plots (20 + 20 = 40 plots) to perform the rainfall simulations over one hour. The cost of chipping ranged from 102 to 253 € ha−1, and was related to the size of the farm. The soil quality, runoff and erosion assessment showed that CPB is a suitable strategy. CPB increased organic matter from 1.3% to 2.9% after 10 years in the 0–2 cm depth layer, while the 4–6 cm layer was largely not affected (OM moved from 1.1 to 1.3% after 10 years), and soil bulk density showed a similar trend: a decrease from 1.36 to 1.16 g cm−3 in the surface layer with no change in the subsurface layer. The hydrological and erosional responses were different between CON and CPB. The CON plots initiated ponding (40 s) and runoff (107 s) earlier than the CPB plots (169 and 254 s, respectively); and runoff discharge was 60% in CON vs 43% in CPB plots. Sediment concentration was four times larger in the CON plots than in the CPB (11.3 g l−1 vs 3 g l−1), and soil erosion was 3.8 Mg ha−1 h-1 vs 0.7 Mg ha−1 h−1. CPB mulches were effective at controlling soil and water losses in Mediterranean citrus plantations as they showed the relationship between vegetation/litter cover and soil erosion rates. However, the farmer's perception survey showed that the use of CPB was not welcomed nor accepted by the farmers. Policies that aim to promote CPB as soil conservation mulch need to be promoted by subsidies as the farmers requested, and by education to demonstrate the positive effects of CPB to of the farming community.
Hydrological and erosional impact and farmer's perception on catch crops and weeds in citrus organic farming in Canyoles river watershed, Eastern Spain
Cerdà, Artemi ; Rodrigo-Comino, Jesús ; Giménez-Morera, Antonio ; Keesstra, Saskia D. - \ 2018
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 258 (2018). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 49 - 58.
Catch crops - Citrus - Erosion - Infiltration - Mediterranean - Runoff - Soil - Weeds
It is needed to find the proper management from a biophysical point of view to promote sustainable agriculture. However, it is also necessary that farmers accept new strategies that propose cultural and technical shifts. A survey of the farmerś perception, and an assessment of the biophysical impact of catch crops (CC) and weeds (W) on soil organic matter, bulk density, infiltration capacity, runoff initiation, runoff discharge and soil detachment at the pedon scale were carried out. The field measurements in the Alcoleja experimental station demonstrated that organic matter and bulk density after 10 years of Vicia sativa L. and Avena sativa L. catch crops and weeds managed plots are similar. Both CC and W plots enhanced high infiltration rates under single ring ponding conditions, the runoff discharge was delayed and decreased; and soil erosion rates were lower in comparison to soil erosion rates measured in chemically managed farms. Soil quality was high for both management strategies and soil erosion rates much sustainable due to the live mulch that catch crops and weeds developed. However, an assessment of the farmerś perception in the Cànyoles river watershed citrus production area in Eastern Spain demonstrated that the farmer's community did not accept the use of catch crops or weeds. The survey proved that the farmers would accept the use of CC and W if subsidies were paid. The farmers claimed for the payment of the seeds and sowing expenses plus a 57 € ha−1 for the CC and 75 € ha−1 for W on average. The farmers considered the use of CC and W as benefit for the society, but not for them.
Valorando la conectividad ladera-cauce en una cuenca agrícola, utilizando óxidos de tierras raras como trazadores y modelos de selvas aleatorias
Masselink, R.J.H. ; Temme, A.J.A.M. ; Giménez, R. ; Casalí, J. ; Keesstra, S.D. - \ 2017
Cuadernos de Investigacion Geografica 43 (2017)1. - ISSN 0211-6820 - p. 19 - 39.
Hillslope-channel connectivity - Mediterranean - Random forests - Sediment tracing

Soil erosion from agricultural areas is a large problem, because of off-site effects like the rapid filling of reservoirs. To mitigate the problem of sediments from agricultural areas reaching the channel, reservoirs and other surface waters, it is important to understand hillslope-channel connectivity and catchment connectivity. To determine the functioning of hillslope-channel connectivity and the continuation of transport of these sediments in the channel, it is necessary to obtain data on sediment transport from the hillslopes to the channels. Simultaneously, the factors that influence sediment export out of the catchment need to be studied. For measuring hillslope-channel sediment connectivity, Rare-Earth Oxide (REO) tracers were applied to a hillslope in an agricultural catchment in Navarre, Spain, preceding the winter of 2014-2015. The results showed that during the winter no sediment transport from the hillslope to the channel was detected. To test the implication of the REO results at the catchment scale, two contrasting conceptual models for sediment connectivity were assessed using a Random Forest (RF) machine learning method. The RF method was applied using a 15-year period of measured sediment output at the catchment scale. One model proposes that small events provide sediment for large events, while the other proposes that only large events cause sediment detachment and small events subsequently remove these sediments from near and in the channel. For sediment yield prediction of small events, variables related to large preceding events were the most important. The model for large events underperformed and, therefore, we could not draw any immediate conclusions whether small events influence the amount of sediment exported during large events. Both REO tracers and RF method showed that low intensity events do not contribute any sediments from the hillslopes to the channel in the Latxaga catchment. Sediment dynamics are dominated by sediment mobilisation during large (high intensity) events. Sediments are for a large part exported during those events, but the system shows a memory of the occurrence of these large events, suggesting that large amounts of sediments are deposited in and near the channel after these events. These sediments are gradually removed by small events. To better understand the delivery of sediments to the channel and how large and small events influence each other more field data on hillslope-channel connectivity and within-channel sediment dynamics is necessary.

Pinus halepensis M. versus Quercus ilex subsp. Rotundifolia L. runoff and soil erosion at pedon scale under natural rainfall in Eastern Spain three decades after a forest fire
Cerdà, Artemi ; Lucas Borja, Manuel Esteban ; Úbeda, Xavier ; Martínez-Murillo, Juan Francisco ; Keesstra, Saskia - \ 2017
Forest Ecology and Management 400 (2017). - ISSN 0378-1127 - p. 447 - 456.
Aleppo pine - Holm oak - Mediterranean - Plots - Rainfall - Sediment delivery

Afforestation aims to recover the vegetation cover, and restore natural ecosystems. The plant species selected for restoration will determine species richness and the fate of the ecosystem. Research focussing on the impact of vegetation recovery on soil quality are abundant, especially on fire affected land and where rehabilitation, afforestation and restoration projects were carried out. However, little is known about how different plants species affect soil erosion and water losses, which are key factors that will impact the fate of the afforested land. Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis M.) is the species commonly used for afforestation in the Mediterranean and is very successful when natural recovery takes place, however, the original forests were composed of Holm oaks (Quercus ilex subsp. rotundifolia L.). There is little information about the hydrological and erosional impact of this change of vegetation cover stimulated by a millennia old forest use in the Mediterranean, and a century old afforestation policies and natural recovery as a consequence of land abandonment. To get insights in the effect of plant species on runoff generation and soil erosion, individual trees should be selected. Plots of 1 m2 are necessary to identify homogeneous patches, and were installed under Aleppo pine (4 plots) and Holm oaks (4 plots) in a 30(34)-years old plant cover recovered after a forest fire that took place in 1979. A raingauge was installed in the study site to characterize the rainfall. The soil erosion plots were built with metal borders and each plot drained to a collector (gutter) and a 60 L container to store the surface runoff. Runoff was measured after each rainfall event and sediment concentration was determined by desiccation. Results show that Aleppo pine covered soils yield six times more runoff (232 mm, 8.31%) than Holm oaks (40 mm, 1.4%) during the experimental period of 2010–2014, when rainfall amount 2,721.1 mm. Runoff sediment concentration was higher in the Aleppo pine plots (4.9 g l−1) than in the Holm oaks plots (2.6 g l−1). Soil erosion rate was ten times higher in Aleppo pine (2.6 Mg ha−1 y−1) than in Holm oaks (0.26 Mg ha−1 y−1).

Ecosystem responses to land abandonment in Western Mediterranean Mountains
Romero-Díaz, Asunción ; Ruiz-Sinoga, José Damián ; Robledano-Aymerich, Francisco ; Brevik, Eric C. ; Cerda Bolinches, Artemio - \ 2017
Catena 149 (2017). - ISSN 0341-8162 - p. 824 - 835.
Erosion - Human impact - Infiltration - Mediterranean - Soil quality - Vegetative recovery

Agricultural expansion in the Mediterranean resulted in plant and soil degradation due to the intensive use, climate conditions, and rugged terrain. After abandonment, the recovery of vegetation contributed to improvement in soil quality from a hydrological, pedological and geomorphological point of view. This paper shows three examples of ecosystem evolution in abandoned fields in Valencia, Murcia and Andalucia and the application of different methodological approaches that resulted in similar findings. In Valencia, the main responses were the recovery of vegetation after land abandonment and an increase in organic matter and infiltration capacity of soils. In Murcia, with the exception of some terraced areas on marls, where erosion processes following abandonment were important, land abandonment resulted in vegetation recovery, improved soil properties, and reduced surface wash and soil losses. In Andalucia, research along climatological gradients showed the relationship between vegetation patterns and soil moisture and the control that climate exerts on hydrological and erosive behaviour. The experimental research conducted in three different regions in Western Mediterranean demonstrated that abandonment can result in recovery of the geo-ecosystem as vegetation and soil quality improvements were shown. The marls areas in Murcia were the exception with low soil quality and low vegetation cover, and as a consequence showed evidence of high erosion rates after abandonment.

The influence of fire history, plant species and post-fire management on soil water repellency in a Mediterranean catchment : The Mount Carmel range, Israel
Keesstra, Saskia ; Wittenberg, Lea ; Maroulis, Jerry ; Sambalino, Francesco ; Malkinson, Dan ; Cerdà, Artemi ; Pereira, Paulo - \ 2017
Catena 149 (2017)3. - ISSN 0341-8162 - p. 857 - 866.
Mediterranean - Post-fire management - Soil water repellency - Vegetation recovery - WDPT - Wildfires

Fire is a key factor impacting soil hydrology in many Mediterranean catchments. Soil water repellency (SWR) can stimulate land degradation processes by reducing the affinity of soil and water thereby triggering a reduction in soil fertility and increasing soil and water losses. The effects of two consequent fires (1989 and 2005) on SWR were assessed in the Carmel Mountains, Israel. Fire history, plant recovery and post-fire management (14 treatments) were investigated as determining factors in a time dependent system. In total 210 locations were investigated 9 times from October 2011 to February 2012, which totals 1890 water drop penetration tests that were performed. During each visit to the field (9 times) a soil moisture content was measured for each treatment. SWR was highest in the >. 50. years unburnt plots, where soil under . Pinus halepensis is most hydrophobic. In the most disturbed soils (twice burnt), many sites have a low to absent SWR even if the soil is very dry. The dynamics and fluctuations in SWR differ in magnitude under different plant species. The areas treated with CC (chipping of charred trees) showed a much higher SWR than areas left untreated. From these insights, a conceptual model of the reaction of SWR on multiple fires was developed.

Effects of soil management techniques on soil water erosion in apricot orchards
Keesstra, Saskia ; Pereira, Paulo ; Novara, Agata ; Brevik, Eric C. ; Azorin-Molina, Cesar ; Parras-Alcántara, Luis ; Jordán, Antonio ; Cerdà, Artemi - \ 2016
Science of the Total Environment 551-552 (2016). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 357 - 366.
Agriculture land management - Hydrology - Mediterranean - Rainfall simulation - Soil water erosion

Soil erosion is extreme in Mediterranean orchards due to management impact, high rainfall intensities, steep slopes and erodible parent material. Vall d'Albaida is a traditional fruit production area which, due to the Mediterranean climate and marly soils, produces sweet fruits. However, these highly productive soils are left bare under the prevailing land management and marly soils are vulnerable to soil water erosion when left bare. In this paper we study the impact of different agricultural land management strategies on soil properties (bulk density, soil organic matter, soil moisture), soil water erosion and runoff, by means of simulated rainfall experiments and soil analyses. Three representative land managements (tillage/herbicide/covered with vegetation) were selected, where 20 paired plots (60 plots) were established to determine soil losses and runoff. The simulated rainfall was carried out at 55 mm h-1 in the summer of 2013 (2 circular plots. The results showed that vegetation cover, soil moisture and organic matter were significantly higher in covered plots than in tilled and herbicide treated plots. However, runoff coefficient, total runoff, sediment yield and soil erosion were significantly higher in herbicide treated plots compared to the others. Runoff sediment concentration was significantly higher in tilled plots. The lowest values were identified in covered plots. Overall, tillage, but especially herbicide treatment, decreased vegetation cover, soil moisture, soil organic matter, and increased bulk density, runoff coefficient, total runoff, sediment yield and soil erosion. Soil erosion was extremely high in herbicide plots with 0.91 Mg ha-1 h-1 of soil lost; in the tilled fields erosion rates were lower with 0.51 Mg ha-1 h-1. Covered soil showed an erosion rate of 0.02 Mg ha-1 h-1. These results showed that agricultural management influenced water and sediment dynamics and that tillage and herbicide treatment should be avoided.

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