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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Long-term impact of rainfed agricultural land abandonment on soil erosion in the Western Mediterranean basin
Cerdà, Artemi ; Rodrigo-Comino, Jesús ; Novara, Agata ; Brevik, Eric Charles ; Vaezi, Ali Reza ; Pulido, Manuel ; Giménez-Morera, Antonio ; Keesstra, Saskia Deborah - \ 2018
Progress in Physical Geography 42 (2018)2. - ISSN 0309-1333 - p. 202 - 219.
Land use change - plots - rainfall - runoff - scale - sediment - Spain
Land abandonment is widespread in the Mediterranean mountains. The impact of agricultural abandonment results in a shift in ecosystem evolution due to changes in soil erosion, but little is known about long-term soil and water losses. This paper uses 11 years of measurements in two paired plots (abandoned vs control) with four subplots to determine how soil and water losses evolved after abandonment within an agricultural parcel. For two years (2004–2005) both plots were under tillage, and after 2006 one plot was abandoned. The monitored plots measured runoff and sediment concentration after each rainfall event. The results show that during the two years after abandonment there was an increase in sediment yield followed by a decrease. Once the field was abandoned, a sudden increase in runoff (× 2.1 times) and sediment concentration (× 1.2 times) was found due to the lack of vegetation and tillage. After one year, the sediment concentration and, after two years, the runoff rates were lower in the abandoned than in the tilled plots. This short transition period ended in contrasting responses between the control and abandoned plot as the impact of abandonment resulted in 21 times less sediment yield after nine years of abandonment. This occurred despite the fact that the year after the abandonment the abandoned plot had 2.9 times more erosion due to low vegetation recovery and the development of a soil crust. Agriculture land abandonment resulted in lower erosion rates over the long term, but showed an increase in soil and water losses over the short term (two years). Therefore, in the first two years after abandonment there is a particular need to apply nature-based soil and water conservation strategies to prevent soil erosion.
Role of rock fragment cover on runoff generation and sediment yield in tilled vineyards
Rodrigo Comino, Jesús ; García-Díaz, Andrés ; Brevik, Eric C. ; Keesstra, Saskia ; Pereira, P. ; Novara, A. ; Jordán, Antonio ; Cerdà, Artemi - \ 2017
European Journal of Soil Science 68 (2017)6. - ISSN 1351-0754 - p. 864 - 872.
The soil in conventional Mediterranean vineyards is an active and non-sustainable source of sediment and water. Lack of vegetation cover, small soil organic matter content and intense ploughing result in large rates of erosion in a millennia-old tillage system. There is a need for soil conservation strategies that enable sustainability of wine and grape production; therefore, it is essential to measure the rates and to investigate the processes and factors of soil erosion. This study evaluated factors that can reduce soil losses in traditional Mediterranean vineyards. The investigation was carried out with 96 rainfall simulation experiments at the pedon scale (0.24 m2) to measure soil detachment and runoff yield under low frequency-high magnitude rainfall events of 1 hour at 55 mm hour-1. On average, runoff was 40.6% of the rainfall, and the rate of soil erosion (i.e. amount of soil lost) was 71.5 g m-2. The key factor controlling erosion was the rock fragment cover. There was a clear decrease in soil losses with increased rock fragment cover on the soil surface, but an increase in surface runoff. The results of our study showed that rock fragments at the pedon scale reduced soil erosion in Mediterranean vineyards, but when a layer of embedded rock fragments developed, large rates of runoff were triggered. Highlights: We investigated soil erosion factors in Mediterranean vineyards. Rainfall simulation at the pedon scale achieved accurate measurements. Rock fragment cover reduces soil losses. Embedded rock fragment cover will trigger large runoff rates.
Runoff initiation, soil detachment and connectivity are enhanced as a consequence of vineyards plantations
Cerdà, Artemi ; Keesstra, S.D. ; Rodrigo Comino, Jesús ; Novara, A. ; Pereira, P. ; Brevik, E.C. ; Giménez-Morera, A. ; Fernández-Raga, M. ; Mahecha-Pulido, Juan D. ; Prima, Simone Di; Jordán, Antonio - \ 2017
Journal of Environmental Management 202 (2017)1. - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. 268 - 275.
Connectivity - Detachment - Erosion - Rainfall simulation - Sediments - Water
Rainfall-induced soil erosion is a major threat, especially in agricultural soils. In the Mediterranean belt, vineyards are affected by high soil loss rates, leading to land degradation. Plantation of new vines is carried out after deep ploughing, use of heavy machinery, wheel traffic, and trampling. Those works result in soil physical properties changes and contribute to enhanced runoff rates and increased soil erosion rates. The objective of this paper is to assess the impact of the plantation of vineyards on soil hydrological and erosional response under low frequency – high magnitude rainfall events, the ones that under the Mediterranean climatic conditions trigger extreme soil erosion rates. We determined time to ponding, Tp; time to runoff, Tr; time to runoff outlet, Tro; runoff rate, and soil loss under simulated rainfall (55 mm h−1, 1 h) at plot scale (0.25 m2) to characterize the runoff initiation and sediment detachment. In recent vine plantations (<1 year since plantation; R) compared to old ones (>50 years; O). Slope gradient, rock fragment cover, soil surface roughness, bulk density, soil organic matter content, soil water content and plant cover were determined. Plantation of new vineyards largely impacted runoff rates and soil erosion risk at plot scale in the short term. Tp, Tr and Tro were much shorter in R plots. Tr-Tp and Tro-Tr periods were used as connectivity indexes of water flow, and decreased to 77.5 and 33.2% in R plots compared to O plots. Runoff coefficients increased significantly from O (42.94%) to R plots (71.92%) and soil losses were approximately one order of magnitude lower (1.8 and 12.6 Mg ha−1 h−1 for O and R plots respectively). Soil surface roughness and bulk density are two key factors that determine the increase in connectivity of flows and sediments in recently planted vineyards. Our results confirm that plantation of new vineyards strongly contributes to runoff initiation and sediment detachment, and those findings confirms that soil erosion control strategies should be applied immediately after or during the plantation of vines.
Impact of potentially contaminated river water on agricultural irrigated soils in an equatorial climate
Trujillo-González, Juan Manuel ; Mahecha-Pulido, Juan D. ; Torres-Mora, Marco Aurelio ; Brevik, Eric C. ; Keesstra, Saskia D. ; Jiménez-Ballesta, Raimundo - \ 2017
Agriculture 7 (2017)7. - ISSN 2077-0472
Agricultural land use - Equatorial area - Trace elements - Wastewater irrigation

Globally, it is estimated that 20 million hectares of arable land are irrigated with water that contains residual contributions from domestic liquids. This potentially poses risks to public health and ecosystems, especially due to heavy metals, which are considered dangerous because of their potential toxicity and persistence in the environment. The Villavicencio region (Colombia) is an equatorial area where rainfall (near 3000 mm/year) and temperature (average 25.6 °C) are high. Soil processes in tropical conditions are fast and react quickly to changing conditions. Soil properties from agricultural fields irrigated with river water polluted by a variety of sources were analysed and compared to non-irrigated control soils. In this study, no physico-chemical alterations were found that gave evidence of a change due to the constant use of river water that contained wastes. This fact may be associated with the climatic factors (temperature and precipitation), which contribute to fast degradation of organic matter and nutrient and contaminants (such as heavy metals) leaching, or to dilution of wastes by the river.

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.

Soil erosion in sloping vineyards assessed by using botanical indicators and sediment collectors in the Ruwer-Mosel valley
Rodrigo Comino, J. ; Quiquerez, A. ; Follain, S. ; Raclot, D. ; Bissonnais, Y. Le; Casalí, J. ; Giménez, R. ; Cerda Bolinches, Artemio ; Keesstra, S.D. ; Brevik, E.C. ; Pereira, P. ; Senciales, J.M. ; Seeger, M. ; Ruiz Sinoga, J.D. ; Ries, J.B. - \ 2016
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 233 (2016). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 158 - 170.
Steep slopes, erodible soils, rill and ephemeral gullies, compaction due to wheel traffic and human trampling are common features in vineyards around the world and result in high soil erosion rates. However, little is known about seasonal and spatial variations of soil erosion rates due to factors such as the impact of the vine plantation, harvest, and tillage on the soil redistribution over the long-term temporal scale. The goal of this study is to assess long-term soil erosion rates and the impact of management on sediment and runoff yield by means of Gerlach troughs and a topographical approach based on botanic benchmarks in two paired vineyards with different ages (3 and 35 years) located on the hillslope of the Ruwer-Mosel Valley (Germany). We studied: i) soil profiles and properties at different hillslope locations and ii) soil redistribution and erosion by means of topsoil level maps applying botanic benchmarks using the Stock Unearthing Method (SUM), RUSLE (Revised Unviersal Soil Loss Equation) and Gerlach troughs. The SUM showed that the old vineyard’s erosion rates ranged from 3.3 to 3.8 Mg ha−1 yr−1, which was similar to the Gerlach trough measurements, and we demonstrated that the soil erosion rates depended on rainfall characteristics and human disturbances due to tillage, harvest trampling, and compaction by heavy machinery. Data from the SUM in the young vineyard showed 62.5 Mg ha−1 yr−1 of soil loss, which is a consequence of severe soil disturbance during the planting of the new vineyard. Finally, to prove the reliability data, RUSLE showed higher soil loss in the young vineyards (19.46 Mg ha−1 yr−1) than in the old ones (11.28 Mg ha−1 yr−1).
Long-term effects of soil management on ecosystem services and soil loss estimation in olive grove top soils
Parras-Alcántara, Luis ; Lozano-García, Beatriz ; Keesstra, Saskia ; Cerdà, Artemi ; Brevik, Eric C. - \ 2016
Science of the Total Environment 571 (2016). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 498 - 506.
Amendments - Andalucía - Conventional tillage - Olive leaves - Olive mill pomace - Soil erosion - Soil management

Soil management has important effects on soil properties, runoff, soil losses and soil quality. Traditional olive grove (OG) management is based on reduced tree density, canopy size shaped by pruning and weed control by ploughing. In addition, over the last several decades, herbicide use has been introduced into conventional OG management. These management strategies cause the soil surface to be almost bare and subsequently high erosion rates take place. To avoid these high erosion rates several soil management strategies can be applied. In this study, three strategies were assessed in OG with conventional tillage in three plots of 1. ha each. Soil properties were measured and soil erosion rates were estimated by means of the RUSLE model. One plot was managed with no amendments (control), and the other two were treated with olive leaves mulch and oil mill pomace applied yearly from 2003 until 2013. The control plot experienced the greatest soil loss while the use of olive leaves as mulch and olive mill pomace as an amendment resulted in a soil loss reduction of 89.4% and 65.4% respectively (assuming a 5% slope). In addition, the chemical and physical soil properties were improved with the amendments. This combined effect will created a higher quality soil over the long term that it is more resilient to erosion and can provide better ecosystem services, as its functions are improved.

Heavy metal accumulation related to population density in road dust samples taken from urban sites under different land uses
Trujillo-González, Juan Manuel ; Torres-Mora, Marco Aurelio ; Keesstra, Saskia ; Brevik, Eric C. ; Jiménez-Ballesta, Raimundo - \ 2016
Science of the Total Environment 553 (2016). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 636 - 642.
Ecological risk index - Heavy metals - Urban dust - Urban pollution

Soil pollution is a key component of the land degradation process, but little is known about the impact of soil pollution on human health in the urban environment. The heavy metals Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, Cd and Ni were analyzed by acid digestion (method EPA 3050B) and a total of 15 dust samples were collected from streets of three sectors of the city with different land uses; commercial, residential and a highway. The purpose was to measure the concentrations of heavy metals in road sediment samples taken from urban sites under different land uses, and to assess pollution through pollution indices, namely the ecological risk index and geoaccumulation index. Heavy metals concentrations (mg/kg) followed the following sequences for each sector: commercial sector Pb (1289.4) > Cu (490.2) > Zn (387.6) > Cr (60.2) > Ni (54.3); highway Zn (133.3) > Cu (126.3) > Pb (87.5) > Cr (9.4) > Ni (5.3); residential sector Zn (108.3) > Pb (26.0) > Cu (23.7) > Cr (7.3) > Ni (7.2). The geoaccumulation index indicated that the commercial sector was moderately to strongly polluted while the other sectors fell into the unpolluted category. Similarly, using the ecological risk index the commercial sector fell into the considerable category while the other sectors classified as low risk. Road dust increased along with city growth and its dynamics, additionally, road dust might cause a number of negative environmental impacts, therefore the monitoring this dust is crucial.

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
Cerda, A. ; Gonzalez-Pelayo, O. ; Gimelnez-Morera, A. ; Jordan, A. ; Pereira, P. ; Novara, A. ; Brevik, E.C. ; Prosdocimi, M. ; Mahmoodabadi, M. ; Keesstra, S.D. ; Garcia Orenes, F. ; Ritsema, C.J. - \ 2016
Soil Research 54 (2016)2. - ISSN 1838-675X - p. 154 - 165.
Soil and water losses due to agricultural mismanagement are high and non-sustainable in many orchards. An experiment was setup using rainfall simulation experiments at 78 mm h-1 over one hour on 20 paired plots of 2 m2 (bare and straw covered) in new persimmon plantations in Eastern Spain. The effects of a straw cover on the control of soil and water losses was assessed. An addition of 60% straw cover (75 g m-2) resulted in delayed ponding and runoff generation and as a consequence reduced water losses from 60 to 13% of the total rainfall. The straw cover reduced raindrop impact and as a consequence sediment detachment from 1,014 to 47 g per plot in one hour. The erosion rate was reduced from 5.1 to 0.2 Mg ha-1 h-1. The straw mulch was found to be extremely efficient in reducing soil erosion rates.
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.

Complex tritrophic interactions in response to crop domestication: predictions from the wild
Chen, Y.H. ; Gols, R. ; Stratton, C.A. ; Brevik, K.A. ; Benrey, B. - \ 2015
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 157 (2015)1. - ISSN 0013-8703 - p. 40 - 59.
Crop domestication is the process of artificially selecting plants to increase their suitability to human tastes and cultivated growing conditions. There is increasing evidence that crop domestication can profoundly alter interactions among plants, herbivores, and their natural enemies. However, there are few generalizable predictions on how insect herbivores and natural enemies should respond to artificial selection of specific plant traits. We reviewed the literature to determine how different insect herbivore feeding guilds and natural enemy groups (parasitoids and predators) respond to existing variation in wild and cultivated plant populations for plant traits typically targeted by domestication. Our goal was to look for broad patterns in tritrophic interactions to generate support for a range of potential outcomes from human-mediated selection. Overall, we found that herbivores benefit from directional selection on traits that have been targeted by domestication, but the effects on natural enemies were less studied and less consistent. In general, herbivores appear to mirror human preferences for higher nutritional content and larger plant structures. In contrast, the general effect of lowered plant secondary metabolites did not always influence herbivores consistently. Given that crop domestication appears to be a transformative process that fundamentally alters insect–plant interactions, we believe that a more detailed understanding of the community-wide effects of crop domestication is needed to simultaneously stimulate both biological control and plant breeding efforts to enhance sustainable pest control.
Early soil knowledge and the birth and development of soil science
Brevik, E.C. ; Hartemink, A.E. - \ 2010
Catena 83 (2010)1. - ISSN 0341-8162 - p. 23 - 33.
historical development - cropping systems - united-states - sustainability - principles - evolution - students - pedology - society - trends
Soils knowledge dates to the earliest known practice of agriculture about 11,000 BP Civilizations all around the world showed various levels of soil knowledge by the 4th century AD, including irrigation, the use of terraces to control erosion, various ways of improving soil fertility, and ways to create productive artificial soils. Early soils knowledge was largely based on observations of nature: experiments to test theories were not conducted. Many famous scientists, for example, Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Charles Darwin, and Leonardo da Vinci worked on soils issues. Soil science did not become a true science, however, until the 19th century with the development of genetic soil science, led by Vasilii V Dokuchaev In the 20th century, soil science moved beyond its agricultural roots and soil information is now used in residential development, the planning of highways, building foundations, septic systems, wildlife management, environmental management, and many other applications in addition to agriculture
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