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Title: Rates and spatial variations of soil erosion in Europe: A study based on erosion plot data
Authors: Cerdan, O ×
Govers, G
Le Bissonnais, Y
Van Oost, Kristof
Poesen, Jean
Saby, N
Gobin, Anne
Vacca, A
Quinton, J
Auerswald, K
Klik, A
Kwaad, F.J.P.M.
Raclot, D
Ionita, I
Rejman, J
Rousseva, S
Muxart, T
Roxo, M.J.
Dostal, T #
Issue Date: 23-Jun-2010
Publisher: Elsevier
Series Title: Geomorphology vol:122 issue:1-2 pages:167-177
Abstract: An extensive database of short to medium-term erosion rates as measured on erosion plots in Europe under natural rainfallwas compiled fromthe literature. Statistical analysis confirmed the dominant influence of land use
and cover on soil erosion rates. Sheet and rill erosion rates are highest on bare soil; vineyards show the second
highest soil losses, followed by other arable lands (spring crops, orchards and winter crops). A land with a
permanent vegetation cover (shrubs, grassland and forest) is characterised by soil losses which are generally
more than an order of magnitude lower than those on arable land. Disturbance of permanent vegetation by fire
leads to momentarily higher erosion rates but rates are still lower than those measured on arable land.We also
noticed important regional differences in erosion rates. Erosion rates are generally much lower in the
Mediterranean as compared to other areas in Europe; this is mainly attributed to the high soil stoniness in the
Mediterranean.Measured erosion rates on arable and bare landwere related to topography (slope steepness and
length) and soil texture, while thiswas not the case for plots with a permanent land cover. We attribute this to a
fundamental difference in runoff generation and sediment transfer according to land cover types.
On the basis of these resultswe calculated mean sheet and rill erosion rates for the European area covered by the
CORINE database: estimated rill and interrill erosion rates are ca. 1.2 t ha−1 year−1 for the whole CORINE area
and ca. 3.6 t ha−1 year−1 for arable land. These estimates are much lower than some earlier estimates which
were based on the erroneous extrapolation of small datasets. High erosion rates occur in areas dominated by
vineyards, the hilly loess areas in West and Central Europe and the agricultural areas located in the piedmont
areas of the major European mountain ranges.
ISSN: 0169-555X
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Division of Geography & Tourism
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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