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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10261/16285
Title: The impact of land use change and check-dams on catchment sediment yield
Authors: Boix-Fayos, Carolina; Vente, Joris de; Martínez-Mena García, M. Dolores; González Barberá, Gonzalo; Castillo Sánchez, Victor Manuel
Keywords: Land use change
Sediment yield
Geomorphological impact
Issue Date: 16-Sep-2008
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Citation: Hydrological Processes 22(25): 4922-4935 (2008)
Abstract: Extensive land use changes have occurred in many areas of SE Spain as a result of reforestation and the abandonment of agricultural activities. Parallel to this the Spanish Administration spends large funds on hydrological control works to reduce erosion and sediment transport. However, it remains untested how these large land use changes affect the erosion processes at the catchment scale and if the hydrological control works efficiently reduce sediment export. A combination of field work, mapping and modelling was used to test the influence of land use scenarios with and without sediment control structures (check-dams) on sediment yield at the catchment scale. The study catchment is located in SE Spain and suffered important land use changes, increasing the forest cover 3-fold and decreasing the agricultural land 2·5-fold from 1956 to 1997. In addition 58 check-dams were constructed in the catchment in the 1970s accompanying reforestation works. The erosion model WATEM-SEDEM was applied using six land use scenarios: land use in 1956, 1981 and 1997, each with and without check-dams. Calibration of the model provided a model efficiency of 0·84 for absolute sediment yield. Model application showed that in a scenario without check dams, the land use changes between 1956 and 1997 caused a progressive decrease in sediment yield of 54%. In a scenario without land use changes but with check-dams, about 77% of the sediment yield was retained behind the dams. Check-dams can be efficient sediment control measures, but with a short-lived effect. They have important side-effects, such as inducing channel erosion downstream. While also having side-effects, land use changes can have important long-term effects on sediment yield. The application of either land use changes (i.e. reforestation) or check-dams to control sediment yield depends on the objective of the management and the specific environmental conditions of each area.
Publisher version (URL): http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hyp.7115
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10261/16285
DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7115
ISSN: 1099-1085 (Online)
0885-6087 (Print)
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