Soil System Sciences

Forest residue mulching reduces post-fire soil erosion

Sergio A. Prats
University of Aveiro, Portugal

Team members spreading forest residues on the surface of burned soils.

Team members spreading forest residues on the surface of burned soils. Credit: Sergio A. Prats.

Still under the effect of the last wave of wildfires of summer 2013, Porto Canal interviewed the last Ph.D. student of the CESAM Research Centre at the University of Aveiro, who deals with soil erosion mitigation after wildfires.

Porto Canal wanted to disseminate the last advances in recognizing the main effects of wildfires, the selection of soil erosion risky areas and especially the most effective techniques for reducing post-fire soil erosion. The recently-finished Ph.D. Thesis by Sergio Prats Alegre assessed the effectiveness of a variety of mulching techniques to reduce post-fire runoff and soil erosion. A new variant of mulching – the forest residue mulching– showed to be highly effective in reducing post-fire runoff and soil erosion, with comparable figures to the highly-effective, broadly-known straw mulching, but with some other advantages.

Dr. Sergio Prats Alegre, carrying out "heavy" field work.

Dr. Sergio Prats Alegre, carrying out “heavy” field work. Credit: Sergio A. Prats.


Other dissemination:

Articles about post-fire soil erosion treatments

Prats S.A., Malvar M.C., Vieira D.C.S., Keizer J.J. (Accepted). Effectiveness of hydromulching to reduce runoff and erosion in a recently burnt and logged Maritime Pine stand in central Portugal. Land Degradation and Development. Early view.

Prats S.A., Martins M.A.S., Malvar M.C., Ben-Hur M., Keizer J.J. 2014. Polyacrylamide versus forest residue mulching: an evaluation of the effectiveness in reducing runoff and soil erosion after fire. Science of Total Environment 468-469: 464-474.

Prats S.A., MacDonald, L.H., Monteiro M., Ferreira A.J.D., Coelho C.O.A., Keizer J.J. 2012. The effectiveness of forest residue mulching in reducing overland flow generation and associated soil losses following wildfire in north-central Portugal. Geoderma 191: 115-124.


This post was also published simultaneously in G-Soil.

Antonio Jordán is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Seville and coordinator of the MED Soil Research Group. Antonio’s research focusses on rainfall-induced soil erosion processes, the effects of wildfires on soil properties and soil degradation in Mediterranean areas. He is an active members of the Soil System Sciences (SSS) Division of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), which coordinates the scientific programme on soil sciences.

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