Urban soil erosion

Paulo Pereira
Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Urban soils are subjected to a wide range of impacts, as pollution from air and water discharges and anthropic activity. Normally these soils are composed by garbage and organic residues, construction debris, burnt material and municipal solid wastes. In fact they are a sink of pollutants, with unknown and imperceptible impacts on human health. This induces tremendous soil deterioration with impacts on soil quality, including physical, chemical and biological properties. Most of these soils are a result of human activity (Anthrosols). One of the important factors that contribute to urban soil degradation is erosion. In many occasions the road cleaning for esthetical reasons, by municipal workers can increase soil vulnerability to erosion (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Leaves removal and piled to be burned in an urban park in Vilnius.

During Autumn, leaves falling from trees may have an important role in the protection of the soil surface again raindrop impact and splash, special under caducifolious trees, where tree canopy during autumn and winter does not efficiently protect soil. In winter, in northern areas, litter can also protect soil erosion from ice melting. Leaves removal can pose also problems for infrastructures in sloping areas (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Leaves removal in a slope area in Vilnius, Lithuania. It is visible in the picture the effects of this management as the formation of rills that with time will threat human contructions.

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