Purpose: Forests play a key role in providing protection against soil erosion. Particularly, the role of vertical forest structure in increasing rainfall interception capacity is crucial for mitigating raindrop impact and reducing splash and rill erosion. For this reason, studies on the relationships between forest structures, the past management, and the observed rates of soil loss are needed. In the last few decades,importance was given to the use of cesium-137 (137Cs) as radioactive tracer to estimate soil erosion rates. The 137Cs technique is linked to the global fallout of bomb-derived radiocesium which occurred during a period extending from the mid 1950s to the late 1970s. Materials and methods: The 137Cs technique, providing long-term retrospective estimates, could be related to forest treatments applied during the last decades in different sites, also considering the tree species composition. This approach could be useful to compare the effect of different canopy cover and biomass on soil erosion rates related to different tree species. In the work proposed here, a study area dominated by pine and beech high forests located in the Aspromonte Mountains (Calabria, Italy) was selected. The measurements, related to forest structural traits, focusing on canopy cover and biomass, and also on management approaches and forest types, are compared with rates of soil erosion provided by 137Cs. Results and discussion: The overall results suggest that the minimum values of soil loss are documented in areas with higher canopy cover and biomass evidencing the protective effect provided by forests against soil erosion. Also, techniques based on the use of tracers like 137Cs proved to be helpful to select the best forest management options useful to optimize the protective role of forests, with the aim to reduce erosion processes in a long-term perspective. Conclusions: The experiment indicates that care must be taken when new silviculture treatments are planned. These findings are in agreement with what documented by other authors in similar environments but need further studies to confirmthe effectiveness of using 137Cs in different forest ecosystems.
|Titolo:||The role of silvicultural systems and forest types in preventing soil erosion processes in mountain forests: a methodological approach using Caesium-137 measurements|
PORTO, Paolo (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|