Urban Parks Soil Erosion

Paulo Pereira
Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Soils in the urban parks are subjected to an intense human impact and degradation. These soils normally are strongly modified by human action, frequently called “Antroposols”. Due the tremendous impact, they are subjected (e.g. pollution, garbage sink, human stepping and degradation by the creation of roads, etc..) the plant reestablishment after winter season is hard. During the snowmelt period and in the first rains after the winter the transport of sediments is tremendous. Also, after the snowmelt, soils are bare soils are bare (Figure 1) and vulnerable to erosion agents. This lack of protection increases the erosion, especially in urban parks located in steep slopes as the one where the photo figure 1 was taken. Here it is visible the formation of rills and the accumulation of eroded material in the bottom of the slope.

The first rains after snowmelt period have a great erosive capacity and transport a great amount of sediment to roads. The vulnerability of these soils to erosion is also strongly increased by the human action. After the snowmelt, are frequent observe persons with bicycles crossing the park and steep areas extremely vulnerable. The implications of this are huge soil degradation that difficult plant reestablishment during spring season. In addition to this disturbance it is practice by inhabitants and municipal workers remove the dead leaves from the soil surface. This increases soil vulnerability. Other factor that contributes to this vulnerability it is the lack of tree canopy protection in the period immediate after the winter.

Figure 1. Soil erosion in Tauro Kalnas park (Vilnius, Lithuania)

The consequences of this are an enormous production of sediment deposited in roads (Figure 2). The removal of these sediments it is extremely costly for the municipality that have to clean the roads several times during and immediately after the snowmelt period, until the vegetation in urban park areas completely recover. This situation could be mitigated if in the period when the soil is more vulnerable, the human activities in urban park areas would be reduced and managed. Research is being carried out to understand these impacts.

Figure 2. Accumulations of cleaned sediments from snow-melt and first rains after snow-melting near Tauro Kalnas park (Vilnius, Lithuania)

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