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Soil Degradation and Erosional Behaviour triggered by Land Use Change and Agricultural Policies in SE Alentejo, Portugal
  • Henrique Cerqueira,
  • Maria José Roxo,
  • A. Calvo
Henrique Cerqueira
Universidade Nova de Lisboa Centro Interdisciplinar de Ciencias Sociais

Corresponding Author:h.m.cerqueira@gmail.com

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Maria José Roxo
Universidade Nova de Lisboa Centro Interdisciplinar de Ciencias Sociais
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A. Calvo
Universitat de Valencia
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Agricultural Policy has been a major driver of Land Use Changes in Portugal, especially the south-eastern Alentejo: the commons division in the early 20 th century, autarkic policies from the fascist regime, and subsidies for forestry, cereal, and cattle production since joining the common market. This study focuses on the Serra de Mértola, an area with poor soils historically subject to land degradation. Data from the Vale Formoso Erosion Centre (1961-present) was used to compute erosion rates under different land uses representative of the study area. Higher values were found in vertical Fallow (964kg/ha/yr), Wheat (90kg/ha/yr) and horizontal Fallow (66kg/ha/yr), with lower values associated with Spontaneous Vegetation (3kg/ha/yr), Quercus (4kg/ha/yr), and Pines (7kg/ha/yr). Analysis of trends in Landsat NDVI values allowed to discriminate between land cover change and natural oscillations in weather and vegetation growth: in dry years NDVI values decrease for winter and spring, maintaining lower values throughout the year, while natural vegetation recovery shows a slow but steady increase until it stabilizes or breaks due to human action. Breaks in NDVI values were correlated with occasional ploughing in pastureland and spontaneous vegetation as well as the different moments in the agricultural year for cereal production. Three tendencies were observed: in Cultivated areas, ploughing provides higher sediment availability in valley floors, resulting in aggradation; Pastureland shows rock fragments on slopes and lower sediment availability, leading to incision on valley floors; Spontaneous Vegetation/Abandoned Land leads to a sharp decrease of sedimentary yield, with incision until its natural growth stabilizes hillslope processes.
30 Jun 2022Submitted to Land Degradation & Development
04 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
04 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
09 Jul 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Sep 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Sep 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Major
21 Nov 20221st Revision Received
22 Nov 2022Submission Checks Completed
22 Nov 2022Assigned to Editor
22 Nov 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Nov 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Jan 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major
09 Feb 20232nd Revision Received
09 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
09 Feb 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
09 Feb 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 Feb 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
30 Mar 20233rd Revision Received
30 Mar 2023Submission Checks Completed
30 Mar 2023Assigned to Editor
30 Mar 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 Mar 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 May 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
05 Jun 20234th Revision Received
05 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Jun 2023Submission Checks Completed
05 Jun 2023Assigned to Editor
05 Jun 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned