Find the EGU on

Tag your tweets with #EGU16


Agricultural terraces of the world. Their pedological, geomorphological and hydrological role (co-organized)
Convener: Paolo Tarolli  | Co-Conveners: Artemi Cerdà , Federico Preti , Tony Brown 
 / Wed, 20 Apr, 10:30–12:00

Agricultural terraces are among the most evident and extensive human signatures on different landscapes of the world. Terraces are generally built to retain more soil and water, to reduce both hydrological connectivity and erosion, and to support irrigation. They reduce the slope gradient and length, facilitating the cultivation on steep slopes, and they increase the infiltration of water in areas with a moderate to low soil permeability, controlling the overland flow and velocity, with positive effects on agricultural activities. Since ancient times, one can find agricultural terraces in different topographic conditions (e.g., coastal area, hilly, and steep slope mountain landscapes) and used for different crops (e.g. grapes, orchards, rice, maize, wheat). In few regions terrace construction and irrigation techniques used in the past, continue to be effectively utilized today.
However agricultural terracing introduced relevant critical issues: increase of slope failures, and hydraulic erosion processes with consequences on the loss of nutrients and in the redistribution of chemicals. The historical terraces are often of the bench type with stone walls, and require maintenance. Poorly designed and maintained terraces represent significant sediment sources induced by terraces collapsing. Terraces are also served by agricultural roads, and the construction of these anthropogenic features can also have deep effects on water flows and surface erosion. Land abandonment, which affected several regions of the world during the last half-past century, has resulted in a progressive increase of land degradation (e.g. changes in the spatial distribution of drainage networks, increase of soil erosion) of agricultural terraced landscapes.
The purpose of this section is to collect papers about the pedological, geomorphological and hydrological role of agricultural terraces, with also a focus on the implications of terrace abandonment or their lack of maintenance. We also welcome studies that use technological applications for field data analysis and topographic survey (i.e. remote sensing), empirical and modeling approaches, geochemical tracing techniques, and any advances in environmental planning strategies for agricultural terraces management. Early stage researchers are strongly encouraged to present their research.

The outcomes of this session will be published in a ISI Journal Special Issue.