Changes in Soil Quality and Hydrological Connectivity Caused by the Abandonment of Terraces in a Mediterranean Burned Catchment | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2017
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
LP-midp001261
Copyright details: 
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article

Wildfires and agricultural activities are relevant factors affecting soil quality, hydrological cycle and sedimentary dynamics. Land abandonment leads to afforestation, which increases fire risk and land degradation. However, no studies have yet evaluated the effect of combining the two factors, which occur frequently in Mediterranean ecosystems. This study assessed the changes in soil quality caused by the abandonment of terraces in two microcatchments (<2.5 ha) affected distinctly by wildfires (once and twice burned) and in an unburned control microcatchment by analyzing soil quality parameters, biochemical indices and spatial patterns of hydrological and sediment connectivity. Soil samples were collected in thirty-six plots (25 m2) representing terraced and non-terraced areas within these microcatchments. Unburned non-terraced plots had higher organic matter content and higher microbiological and enzymatic activities than other plots. Plots in abandoned terraces had lower soil quality indices, regardless of the fire effect. Land abandonment induced changes in the spatial patterns of hydrological connectivity, leading to concentrated runoff, enhanced erosion and soil degradation. Fire also negatively affected soil quality in both terraced and non-terraced plots. However, microbiological communities had different positive post-fire recovery strategies (growth and activity), depending on the previous soil conditions and land uses, which is indicative of the resilience of Mediterranean soil ecosystems.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Calsamiglia, AleixLucas-Borja, Manuel EstebanFortesa, JosepGarcía-Comendador, JuliánEstrany, Joan

Corporate Author(s): 

Forests (ISSN 1999-4907) is an international and cross-disciplinary scholarly journal of forestry and forest ecology. It publishes research papers, short communications and review papers. There is no restriction on the length of the papers. Our aim is to encourage scientists to publish their experimental and theoretical research in as much detail as possible. Full experimental and/or methodical details must be provided for research articles.

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Publisher(s): 

MDPI AG, a publisher of open-access scientific journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains editorial offices in China, Spain and Serbia. MDPI relies primarily on article processing charges to cover the costs of editorial quality control and production of articles. Over 280 universities and institutes have joined the MDPI Institutional Open Access Program; authors from these organizations pay reduced article processing charges.

Data provider

MDPI AG, a publisher of open-access scientific journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains editorial offices in China, Spain and Serbia. MDPI relies primarily on article processing charges to cover the costs of editorial quality control and production of articles. Over 280 universities and institutes have joined the MDPI Institutional Open Access Program; authors from these organizations pay reduced article processing charges.

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