Shrub clearing as Active Management strategy to control land abandonment in the Central Spanish Pyrenees: The effects and the limits
- Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Zaragoza, Spain, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Mediterranean mountains have been subject to significant land abandonment processes during the second half of the 20th century. The subsequent natural revegetation following abandonment in rural areas has been widely documented to have significant implications on the hydrological cycle and the vegetation dynamics. The Spanish Pyrenees, are one of the most affected areas by these land transformations which could threaten their importance for water supply and agricultural activities in the downstream lowland areas.
Management strategies of these abandoned areas have been debatable during the last decades between scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders. Active Management strategy through shrub clearing is one of the proposed practices that have shown advantages to deal with land abandonment in some regions of Spain. Nevertheless, little is known on the effects of this practice on the hydrological cycle and water resources in abandoned areas. In this study we used the Regional Eco-Hydrological Simulation System RHESSys to estimate shrub clearing effects on water resources in the Aisa valley in the Central Spanish Pyrenees, subject to land abandonment and natural revegetation processes during the past decades. Our results show an increase of annual streamflow and a decrease of annual evapotranspiration following shrub clearing. Nevertheless, the magnitude of these changes may decrease with the age of abandonment and climate change.
How to cite: Khorchani, M., Nadal-Romero, E., and Lasanta, T.: Shrub clearing as Active Management strategy to control land abandonment in the Central Spanish Pyrenees: The effects and the limits, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-1123, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-1123, 2019