Rainsplash erosion on forested hillslopes can be increased by both wildfires and post-fire salvage logging, especially under semi-arid Mediterranean conditions. However, few studies have compared rainsplash erosion among forest sites impacted by logging to other forest areas. To fill this gap, this study has evaluated surface runoff and soil erosion in a burnt and logged (manually or mechanically) pine forest of Central-Eastern Spain under simulated rainfall and compared it to unlogged and unburnt plots. Compared to the unburnt plots, surface runoff significantly increased (over 150%) in logged areas, with a peak of 220% on the areas directly subjected to logging machinery. Peak runoff was substantially increased by fire (+130%) and less by logging (+8. Soil loss due to rainsplash erosion was about 235% (manual logging) to 750% (mechanical logging) higher compared to the unburnt plots. Wildfire exerted a much higher soil disturbance compared to salvage logging, with a soil hydrological response that can be up to an order of magnitude higher. The increased runoff and erosion rates in response to wildfire and logging were ascribed to soil compaction, which increased on average 60% on logged plots as well as to the removal of vegetation cover (-80%), whereas soil roughness played a minor role. From these results, we suggest using lightweight machinery in burnt soils, to reduce surface runoff and erosion. The possibility of building contour felled log debris using the burnt wood may also be considered, in order to retain the eroded sediments.

Effects of wildfire and post-fire salvage logging on rainsplash erosion in a semi-arid pine forest of Central Eastern Spain

Carra, Bruno Gianmarco;Zema, Demetrio Antonio
2023-01-01

Abstract

Rainsplash erosion on forested hillslopes can be increased by both wildfires and post-fire salvage logging, especially under semi-arid Mediterranean conditions. However, few studies have compared rainsplash erosion among forest sites impacted by logging to other forest areas. To fill this gap, this study has evaluated surface runoff and soil erosion in a burnt and logged (manually or mechanically) pine forest of Central-Eastern Spain under simulated rainfall and compared it to unlogged and unburnt plots. Compared to the unburnt plots, surface runoff significantly increased (over 150%) in logged areas, with a peak of 220% on the areas directly subjected to logging machinery. Peak runoff was substantially increased by fire (+130%) and less by logging (+8. Soil loss due to rainsplash erosion was about 235% (manual logging) to 750% (mechanical logging) higher compared to the unburnt plots. Wildfire exerted a much higher soil disturbance compared to salvage logging, with a soil hydrological response that can be up to an order of magnitude higher. The increased runoff and erosion rates in response to wildfire and logging were ascribed to soil compaction, which increased on average 60% on logged plots as well as to the removal of vegetation cover (-80%), whereas soil roughness played a minor role. From these results, we suggest using lightweight machinery in burnt soils, to reduce surface runoff and erosion. The possibility of building contour felled log debris using the burnt wood may also be considered, in order to retain the eroded sediments.
2023
Compaction
Lightweight machinery
Manual logging
Mechanical logging
Soil scarification
Surface roughness
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/141559
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