Methods to describe and predict soil erosion in mountain regions
JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift)
ID 2047085
Author(s) Alewell, Christine; Meusburger, Katrin; Brodbeck, Monika; Banninger, Dominik
Author(s) at UniBasel Di Bella, Katrin
Alewell, Christine
Year 2008
Title Methods to describe and predict soil erosion in mountain regions
Journal Landscape and urban planning
Volume 88
Number 2-4
Pages / Article-Number 46-53
Keywords Soil degradation, Modelling, Remote sensing, Stable isotopes, The Alps

Suitable methods to describe and predict soil degradation in mountain areas with low accessibility, steep topography and extreme climate are urgently needed for suitable planning processes in Alpine regions under global change regime. Aerial photograph mapping has been proven to be a valuable tool in surveying landslide development over time. However, landslides< 10 m(2) as well as sheet erosion have been difficult to detect. Thus, the beginning of potentially heavy soil degradation cannot be tracked with aerial photographs. As an early warning system for soil degradation, we analyzed gradients of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen from upland (erosion source) to wetland soils (erosion sink). Oxic upland soils and anoxic wetlands differ in their isotopic signature, due to differing isotopic fingerprints of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in soils. Gradients of delta N-15 and delta C-13 in soils reflected erosion of material. However, if soils were fertilized with manure, the delta N-15 profiles were obscured. To quantify soil erosion, we noted that existing soil erosion models are generally unsuitable for mountain regions. As a first step, we developed a new modelling concept with a special algorithm for spatial discretization with irregular grids. The latter ensures three-dimensional water flow routing that is controlled by topography and not by the underlying algorithm. Regarding quantification of soil erosion an improvement and validation of existing modelling approaches or development of new models is urgently needed. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publisher Elsevier
ISSN/ISBN 0169-2046
Full Text on edoc No
Digital Object Identifier DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2008.08.007
ISI-Number WOS:000261269300002
Document type (ISI) ArticleProceedings Paper

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