Original paper

Effectiveness of wood chips cover at reducing erosion in two contrasted burnt soils

León, J.; Echeverría, M.T.; Badía, D.; Martí, C.; Álvarez, C.J.


Mediterranean ecosystems have been severely affected by fires in the last decades. Due to social and economical changes, wildfires have caused hydrological and geomorphologic changes to be more pronounced, resulting in enhanced soil erosion. Soil heating caused by fires affects soil aggregate stability, water infiltration and may generate hydrophobicity. In order to understand how wildfire affects the soil hydrological behavior in general, and infiltration and runoff processes in particular, it is advantageous to use a rainfall simulator. Over the burnt areas wood-chips mulching was applied in order to reduce the rain splash, and to measure the erosion reduction. The study was carried out on gypseous and calcareous soils in northeast Spain, affected by wildfire in 2009. Results showed that gypseous soils have higher runoff rates and sediment production compared to calcareous soils. The application of wood-chips reduced in all cases runoff and sediment yield and the effect of fire on water repellency was apparent especially on calcareous soils.


gypseous soilscalcareous soilsrainfall simulatorwater repellencywood-chips coverforest fires