ICG2022-621, updated on 20 Jun 2022
10th International Conference on Geomorphology
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Effects of wildfires recurrency on soil erosion in a terraced burned Mediterranean catchment

Jaume Company1,2, Josep Fortesa1,2, Julián García-Comendador1,2, and Joan Estrany1,2
Jaume Company et al.
  • 1Mediterranean Ecogeomorphological and Hydrological Connectivity Research Team (http://medhycon.uib.cat), Department of Geography, University of the Balearic Islands, Carretera de Valldemossa km 7.5, 07122 Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain
  • 2Institute of Agro-Environmental and Water Economy Research –INAGEA (http://inagea.com), University of the Balearic Islands, Carretera de Valldemossa km 7.5, 07122, Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain

European Mediterranean regions are witnessing unprecedented changes owing to the impacts of global change, understood as the set of human influences on the environment and climate change. Under this context, an exacerbation of extreme events such as wildfires is expected. Wildfires are considered one of the most important factors of soil and ecosystems degradation, as soils affected by this phenomenon are erosion-prone due to the removal of vegetation and litter cover and soil physicochemical properties alteration. Fallout-radionuclides (FRNs) can be used as tools to trace soil redistribution due to erosion or deposition. Furthermore, the implementation of a re-sampling approach allows to document changes in soil redistribution under the current context of global change. This study aims to assess soil redistribution rates at different time windows through the use of fallout-radionuclides (137Cs and 210Pbex) in a mid-mountainous Mediterranean catchment affected by recurrent wildfires. Three micro-catchments (MCs) were selected within the Sa Font de la Vila River catchment (4.8 km2); which is characterized by revegetation processes, wildfires recurrence and a huge presence of agricultural terraces: MC1 (1.73 ha; burned in 1994 and 2013), MC2 (2.28 ha; burned in 2013) and MC3 (2.24 ha; non-burned). In order to estimate soil redistribution rates in the short and medium-term after the 2013 wildfire, a resampling approach was carried out, with the first sampling campaign at the end of 2013 and the second one in 2020. In each of these campaigns, the same 80 locations were sampled within the three MCs following a stratified random sampling strategy with 21 bulk cores in MC1, 39 bulk cores in MC2 and 20 bulk cores in MC3. Preliminary results from the 2013 sampling campaign showed the following mean 137Cs inventories: 434 Bq m-2 (MC1), 305 Bq m-2 (MC2) and 214 Bq m-2 (MC3); and 210Pbex inventories: 374 Bq m-2 (MC1), 607 Bq m-2 (MC2) and 515 Bq m-2 (MC3). The diffusion and migration model developed by Walling and He (2001) will be applied to convert the measured inventories into estimates of soil erosion or deposition rates. During the session, the implementation of this experimental design will allow to explain and discuss the main results and conclusions. This study will allow to understand the effects of a wildfire at the short and medium-term in a terraced burned Mediterranean catchment. 

How to cite: Company, J., Fortesa, J., García-Comendador, J., and Estrany, J.: Effects of wildfires recurrency on soil erosion in a terraced burned Mediterranean catchment, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-621, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-621, 2022.