EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Short-term hydrological response of soil after wildfire in a semi-arid landscape covered by Macrochloa tenacissima (L.) Kunth

Demetrio Antonio Zema1, Pedro Antonio Plaza-Àlvarez2, S. M. Mijan Uddin3, Misagh Parhizkar4, and Manuel Esteban Lucas-Borja2
Demetrio Antonio Zema et al.
  • 1Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, AGRARIA Department, Reggio Calabria, Italy (
  • 2Escuela Técnica Superior Ingenieros Agrónomos y Montes, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete, Spain
  • 3Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh
  • 4Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran

A proper monitoring and management of semi-arid landscapes affected by wildfire is needed to reduce its effects on the soil hydrological response in the wet season. Despite ample literature on the post-fire hydrology in forest soils, it is not well documented how the hydrologic processes respond to changes in vegetation cover and soil properties of semi-arid lands (such as the rangeland and areas with sparse forests) after wildfire. To fill this gap, this study evaluates soil hydrology in a semi-arid soil of Central Eastern Spain dominated by Macrochloa tenacissima (a widely-spread species in Northern Africa and Iberian Peninsula) after a wildfire. Rainfall simulations were  carried out under three soil conditions (bare soil, burned and soils with unburned vegetation) and low-to-high slopes, and infiltration, surface runoff and erosion were measured. Infiltration rates did not noticeably vary among the three soil conditions (maximum variability equal to 20%). Compared to the bare soil, the burned area (previously vegetated with M. tenacissima) produced a runoff volume lowered by 27%. In contrast, in the area covered by the same species but unburned, runoff was lowered by 58%. The burned areas with M. tenacissima produced soil losses that were similar as those measured in bare soils, and, in steeper slopes, even higher. Erosion was instead much lower (-83%) in the sites with unburned vegetation. Overall, the control of erosion in these semi-arid lands is beneficial to reduce the possible hydrological effects downstream of these fire-prone areas. In this direction, the establishment of vegetation strips of M. tenacissima in large and steep drylands of bare soil left by fire may be suggested to land managers.

How to cite: Zema, D. A., Plaza-Àlvarez, P. A., Mijan Uddin, S. M., Parhizkar, M., and Lucas-Borja, M. E.: Short-term hydrological response of soil after wildfire in a semi-arid landscape covered by Macrochloa tenacissima (L.) Kunth, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5518,, 2022.