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Title

Deforestation induces shallow landsliding in the montane and subalpine belts of the Urbión Mountains, Iberian Range, Northern Spain

AuthorsGarcía-Ruiz, José María ; Beguería, Santiago ; Arnáez-Vadillo, José; Sanjuán, Yasmina ; Lana-Renault, Noemí ; Gómez-Villar, Amelia; Álvarez-Martínez, Javier; Coba-Pérez, Paz
KeywordsShallow landslides
Deforestation
Subalpine belt
Land cover changes
Urbión Mountains
Issue DateNov-2017
PublisherElsevier
CitationGarcía-Ruiz JM, Beguería S, Arnáez J, Sanjuán Y, Lana-Renault N, Gómez-Villar A, Álvarez-Martínez J, Coba-Pérez P. Deforestation induces shallow landsliding in the montane and subalpine belts of the Urbión Mountains, Iberian Range, Northern Spain. Geomorphology 296: 31-44 (2017)
AbstractIn this study the spatial distribution of shallow landslides in the upper montane and subalpine belts of the Urbión Mountains (Iberian Range, northern Spain) was investigated, particularly in relation to the spatial organization of deforestation and land cover. The upper montane and subalpine belts have been deforested several times since the Neolithic Period, to enlarge the area of summer grasslands for feeding transhumant sheep flocks. Consequently, the timberline was lowered by 400–600 m, and increased the occurrence of severe erosion processes, particularly shallow landslides. This study shows that most of the landslide scars are in the summer grasslands area, and that a remarkable extent of the subalpine belt area has been subjected to mass movements. In addition to land use, the soil characteristics and topography help explain the development of conditions most favorable to landsliding. Shallow landslide susceptibility was highest in the upper parts of the slopes near the divides, in areas having slope gradients of 10–30° and deep soils with an increasing proportion of clay with depth. The landslides were clustered and not randomly distributed, and the causes of this spatial distribution are discussed. The current trend of woody encroachment in the upper montane and subalpine belts, resulting from decreasing livestock pressure, will probably reduce the susceptibility of these areas to shallow landslides in the future.
Description41 Pags.- 14 Figs.- 1 Tabl. The definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0169555X
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.08.016
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/157682
DOI10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.08.016
ISSN0169-555X
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