The response of soil erosion and sediment export to land-use change in four areas of Europe: The importance of landscape pattern
Bakker, Martha M. × Govers, Gerard van Doorn, Anne Quetier, Fabien Chouvardas, Dimitris Rounsevell, Mark #
Geomorphology vol:98 issue:3-4 pages:213-226
The response of erosion and sediment export to past land-use change has been studied in four agricultural areas of Europe.
Three of these areas were subject to land abandonment or de-intensification and one to intensification of land-use practices. Erosion
and sediment yield were modeled using the WaTEM/SEDEM model, which combines the RUSLE equation with a sediment
routing algorithm. Spatial relationships between the RUSLE C-factor (i.e. land-use) and other erosion and sediment exportdetermining
factors (slope, soil erodibility and distance to rivers) were investigated, as these account for non-linearity in the
response of erosion and sediment export to land-use change.
Erosion and sediment export have decreased enormously in the de-intensified areas, but slightly increased in the intensively
cultivated area. The spatial pattern of land-use change in relation to other erosion and sediment export-determining factors appears
to have a large impact on the response of soil erosion and sediment export to land-use change. That the drivers of abandonment of
arable land and erosion coincide indicates that de-intensification leads to a more favourable landscape pattern with respect to
reduction of erosion and sediment export. This mechanism applies not only within the study areas, but also among the European
study areas where the process of intensification of some areas and de-intensification of others might result in an overall decrease of
erosion and sediment yield through time.