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)

What?!?! You eat soil!

Is it bizarre or culinary genius? Is it a new health fad or a delicate delight in a high-end restaurant meal? Either way, soil is now on the menu!
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Makhosazana Sika: Biochar and soil researcher

Makhosazana was born to be a soil scientist!

Makhosazana Sika grew up in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Having lived in a city throughout her childhood, she would not have guessed a decade ago that she would call a small town in the Cape Winelands District her other home. Continue reading

Solid Earth: Application of soil quality indices to assess the status of agricultural soils irrigated with treated wastewaters

A. Morugán-Coronado, V. Arcenegui, F. García-Orenes, J. Mataix-Solera, and J. Mataix-Beneyto. 2013. Application of soil quality indices to assess the status of agricultural soils irrigated with treated wastewaters. Solid Earth, 4, 119-127.

The supply of water is limited in some parts of the Mediterranean region, such as southeastern Spain. The use of treated wastewater for the irrigation of agricultural soils is an alternative to using better-quality water, especially in semi-arid regions. On the other hand, this practice can modify some soil properties, change their relationships and influence soil quality. In this work two soil quality indices were used to evaluate the effects of irrigation with treated wastewater in soils. The indices were developed studying different soil properties in undisturbed soils in SE Spain, and the relationships between soil parameters were established using multiple linear regressions. These indices represent the balance reached among properties in “steady state” soils. This study was carried out in four study sites from SE Spain irrigated with wastewater, including four study sites. The results showed slight changes in some soil properties as a consequence of irrigation with wastewater, the obtained levels not being dangerous for agricultural soils, and in some cases they could be considered as positive from an agronomical point of view. In one of the study sites, and as a consequence of the low quality wastewater used, a relevant increase in soil organic matter content was observed, as well as modifications in most of the soil properties. The application of soil quality indices indicated that all the soils of study sites are in a state of disequilibrium regarding the relationships between properties independent of the type of water used. However, there were no relevant differences in the soil quality indices between soils irrigated with wastewater with respect to their control sites for all except one of the sites, which corresponds to the site where low quality wastewater was used.

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Solid Earth (SE) is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of multidisciplinary research on the composition, structure and dynamics of the Earth from the surface to the deep interior at all spatial and temporal scales. More at Solid Earth hompage.

Modelling soil carbon sequestration capacity in Mediterranean soils

Miriam Muñoz-Rojas
MED_Soil Research Group, University of Seville, Spain
Evenor-Tech (CSIC spin-off)


Modelling soil carbon sequestration capacity in Mediterranean soils. PhD Thesis

During the last decades, land use changes have largely affected the global warming process through emissions of CO2. However, C sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems could contribute to the decrease of atmospheric CO2 rates in the short- or medium-term. Under the Kyoto Protocol (UNFCCC, 1997), national governments are required to assess and report national atmospheric C emissions and removals reflected as changes in C pools. Accordingly, regional studies for assessing C stocks are needed. It is essential to predict soil organic C (SOC) stocks in future climate scenarios to establish adequate land use and management strategies. Models are effective tools for assessing SOC stocks and dynamics at different scales and predict C sequestration trends under projected scenarios. Soil C models are increasingly being used as decision support tools, in particular on issues related to land use or climate change. Although Mediterranean areas show a high potential for C sequestration, only a few studies have been carried out in Mediterranean systems. Several studies on soil C models in combination with climate change scenarios have been developed but new tools are needed to improve soil organic C stocks predictions. Continue reading