A GIS-based Assessment of Soil Erosion in Wood-pastures of Southern Transylvania

Cristina Alina Ficuț, Octavian Liviu Muntean, Vlad Măcicășan, Cristian Valeriu Maloș, Tibor Hartel

Abstract


Wood-pastures are landscape elements with high natural, cultural and economic importance. Wood-pastures combines livestock grazing with trees and shrubs. They provide several ecosystem services, including biodiversity, soil protection, carbon storage, water management. However, wood-pastures have been through a sharp decline all over Europe, mainly due to environmentally uncontrolled intensification of agriculture, abandonment and improper management of the land use, which resulted in the loss of the valuable ecosystem services which they provide. In this paper, we investigate the potential of wood-pastures to provide regulating ecosystem services by their ability to prevent or mitigate the soil erosion. The assessment process has been performed by applying the RUSLE model, using GIS. The model has been applied in eight study-polygons, corresponding to four villages situated in the southern Transylvania, Romania. Our results show that wood-pastures have a lower predicted annual soil loss than pastures with accidental presence of trees. We suggest that wood-pastures are more resilient with regard to soil erosion than tree-less pastures.


Keywords


wood-pastures, soil erosion, RUSLE, GIS, ecosystem services

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