Soil erosion is one of the main environmental problems in the Mediterranean area. This problem is becoming even more important especially in Italy, in the Apennines, where severe erosive processes occur due to the action of concentrated running water. The erodibility (K-Factor) of a soil, estimated using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), is a measure of its susceptibility to erosion and depends on several soil properties such as organic matter, texture and permeability and structure. To assess the spatial variability of soil properties and soil erodibility in hilly agricultural areas and to investigate the relationships between soil features and landscape morphodynamics, a detailed study in Molise region (southern Italy), in a small drainange basin located along its hilly Adriatic flank, was carried out. In this catchment, 63 topsoil samples (A horizons) were collected and 10 soil profiles, forming a catena crossing 3 land units, were sampled. The calculated K-Factors ranges between 0.012 and 0.048 t ha h ha−1 MJ−1 mm−1 indicating a complex spatial distribution, due to the several local pedological and geomorphological factors affecting soil erodibility. The results give clear evidence about the relationships among soil characteristics, soil erodibility and landscape morpho-dynamics (land units). Comparing the soil loss rates estimated for the study area with those reported in literature, a good correspondence can be observed only for the more stable land unit, not characterized by intense erosive processes. The proposed methodology is suitable to highlight areas characterized by similar morphodynamics features, and comparable soil erodibility, for a more effective spatialization of K factor.

Assessing spatial variability and erosion susceptibility of soils in hilly agricultural areas in Southern Italy

Rosskopf C. M.;Di Iorio E.
;
Circelli L.;Colombo C.
Writing – Review & Editing
;
Aucelli P. P. C.
2020

Abstract

Soil erosion is one of the main environmental problems in the Mediterranean area. This problem is becoming even more important especially in Italy, in the Apennines, where severe erosive processes occur due to the action of concentrated running water. The erodibility (K-Factor) of a soil, estimated using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), is a measure of its susceptibility to erosion and depends on several soil properties such as organic matter, texture and permeability and structure. To assess the spatial variability of soil properties and soil erodibility in hilly agricultural areas and to investigate the relationships between soil features and landscape morphodynamics, a detailed study in Molise region (southern Italy), in a small drainange basin located along its hilly Adriatic flank, was carried out. In this catchment, 63 topsoil samples (A horizons) were collected and 10 soil profiles, forming a catena crossing 3 land units, were sampled. The calculated K-Factors ranges between 0.012 and 0.048 t ha h ha−1 MJ−1 mm−1 indicating a complex spatial distribution, due to the several local pedological and geomorphological factors affecting soil erodibility. The results give clear evidence about the relationships among soil characteristics, soil erodibility and landscape morpho-dynamics (land units). Comparing the soil loss rates estimated for the study area with those reported in literature, a good correspondence can be observed only for the more stable land unit, not characterized by intense erosive processes. The proposed methodology is suitable to highlight areas characterized by similar morphodynamics features, and comparable soil erodibility, for a more effective spatialization of K factor.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/95861
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