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Most Cited International Soil and Water Conservation Research Articles

The most cited articles published since 2015, extracted from Scopus.

Emerging pollutants in the environment: A challenge for water resource management

Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2015, Pages 57-65
Violette Geissen | Hans Mol | Erwin Klumpp | Günter Umlauf | Marti Nadal | Martine van der Ploeg | Sjoerd E.A.T.M. van de Zee | Coen J. Ritsema

© 2015 A significant number of emerging pollutants (EPs) resulting from point and diffuse pollution is present in the aquatic environment. These are chemicals that are not commonly monitored but have the potential to enter the environment and cause adverse ecological and human health effects. According to the NORMAN network, at least 700 substances categorized into 20 classes, have been identified in the European aquatic environment. In light of their potential impact action is urgently required. In this study, we present a concept that shows the current state of art and challenges for monitoring programs, fate and risk assessment tools and requirements for policies with respect to emerging pollutants as a base for sustainable water resource management. Currently, methods for sampling and analysis are not harmonized, being typically focused on certain EP classes. For a number of known highly hazardous EPs detection limits are too high to allow proper risk assessment. For other EPs such as microplastics method development is in its infancy. Advanced ultra-sensitive instrumental techniques should be used for quantitative determination of prioritized EPs in water, suspended matter, soil and biota. Data on EPs’ and their metabolites’ properties that determine their fate in the environment are often not available. National surveys on water quality often use different parameters for water quality assessment and often do not include EPs. A harmonized monitoring of surface and groundwater is not yet achieved and urgently required. Specific component integrated into models assessing the fate of EPs in a multi compartment environmental approach are missing and must be developed. The main goal of risk assessment is the overall protection of ecological communities in the aquatic environment and human health. New methods for assessing the cumulative risks from combined exposures to several stressors, including mixtures of EPs in a multi-scale approach are required. A combination of regulations and management measures with respect to use/emissions of EPs into the environment, as well as to their occurrence in the environment are fundamental to reach an efficient water resource management.

Conservation tillage impacts on soil, crop and the environment

Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2015, Pages 119-129
Mutiu Abolanle Busari | Mutiu Abolanle Busari | Surinder Singh Kukal | Amanpreet Kaur | Rajan Bhatt | Ashura Ally Dulazi | Ashura Ally Dulazi

© 2015 There is an urgent need to match food production with increasing world population through identification of sustainable land management strategies. However, the struggle to achieve food security should be carried out keeping in mind the soil where the crops are grown and the environment in which the living things survive. Conservation agriculture (CA), practising agriculture in such a way so as to cause minimum damage to the environment, is being advocated at a large scale world-wide. Conservation tillage, the most important aspect of CA, is thought to take care of the soil health, plant growth and the environment. This paper aims to review the work done on conservation tillage in different agro-ecological regions so as to understand its impact from the perspectives of the soil, the crop and the environment. Research reports have identified several benefits of conservation tillage over conventional tillage (CT) with respect to soil physical, chemical and biological properties as well as crop yields. Not less than 25% of the greenhouse gas effluxes to the atmosphere are attributed to agriculture. Processes of climate change mitigation and adaptation found zero tillage (ZT) to be the most environmental friendly among different tillage techniques. Therefore, conservation tillage involving ZT and minimum tillage which has potential to break the surface compact zone in soil with reduced soil disturbance offers to lead to a better soil environment and crop yield with minimal impact on the environment.

Influence of salinity and water content on soil microorganisms

Volume 3, Issue 4, December 2015, Pages 316-323
Nan Yan | Nan Yan | Petra Marschner | Wenhong Cao | Wenhong Cao | Changqing Zuo | Changqing Zuo | Wei Qin | Wei Qin

© 2015 Salinization is one of the most serious land degradation problems facing world. Salinity results in poor plant growth and low soil microbial activity due to osmotic stress and toxic ions. Soil microorganisms play a pivotal role in soils through mineralization of organic matter into plant available nutrients. Therefore it is important to maintain high microbial activity in soils. Salinity tolerant soil microbes counteract osmotic stress by synthesizing osmolytes which allows them to maintain their cell turgor and metabolism. Osmotic potential is a function of the salt concentration in the soil solution and therefore affected by both salinity (measured as electrical conductivity at a certain water content) and soil water content. Soil salinity and water content vary in time and space. Understanding the effect of changes in salinity and water content on soil microorganisms is important for crop production, sustainable land use and rehabilitation of saline soils. In this review, the effects of soil salinity and water content on microbes are discussed to guide future research into management of saline soils.

Soil loss estimation using GIS and Remote sensing techniques: A case of Koga watershed, Northwestern Ethiopia

Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2016, Pages 126-136
Habtamu Sewnet Gelagay | Amare Sewnet Minale

© 2016 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Soil loss by runoff is a severe and continuous ecological problem in Koga watershed. Deforestation, improper cultivation and uncontrolled grazing have resulted in accelerated soil erosion. Information on soil loss is essential to support agricultural productivity and natural resource management. Thus, this study was aimed to estimate and map the mean annual soil loss by using GIS and Remote sensing techniques. The soil loss was estimated by using Revised Universal Soil Equation (RUSLE) model. Topographic map of 1:50,000 scale, Aster Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of 20 m spatial resolution, digital soil map of 1:250,000 scale, thirteen years rainfall records of four stations, and land sat imagery (TM) with spatial resolution of 30 m was used to derive RUSLE's soil loss variables. The RUSLE parameters were analyzed and integrated using raster calculator in the geo-processing tools in ArcGIS 10.1 environment to estimate and map the annual soil loss of the study area. The result revealed that the annual soil loss of the watershed extends from none in the lower and middle part of the watershed to 265 t ha−1 year−1in the steeper slope part of the watershed with a mean annual soil loss of 47 t ha−1 year−1. The total annual soil loss in the watershed was 255283 t, of these, 181801 (71%) tones cover about 6691 (24%) hectare of land. Most of these soil erosion affected areas are spatially situated in the upper steepest slope part (inlet) of the watershed. These are areas where Nitosols and Alisols with higher soil erodibility character (0.25) values are dominant. Hence, Slope gradient and length followed by soil erodibility factors were found to be the main factors of soil erosion. Thus, sustainable soil and water conservation practices should be adopted in steepest upper part of the study area by respecting and recognizing watershed logic, people and watershed potentials.

Effects of rainfall patterns on runoff and soil erosion in field plots

Volume 3, Issue 4, December 2015, Pages 273-281
Mohamad Ayob Mohamadi | Ataollah Kavian

© 2015 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Soil erosion processes during a storm are strongly affected by intra-storm variations in rainfall characteristics. Four storm patterns, each with a different rainfall intensity variation were separated. The storm patterns were: (1) increasing rainfall intensity (2) increasing then decreasing intensity (3) decreasing intensity (4) decreasing then increasing intensity. After each erosive rainfall (12 events), Runoff and suspended sediment samples were collected in each plot׳s tank which is located on hillslopes of the basin of Khamsan. Main storm characteristics and soil losses were plotted and equation of the line of best fit were selected. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine response of runoff and soil erosion to storm patterns. Results showed that in lower rainfall intensities a linear function fits the relationship between soil loss and rainfall intensity whereas this function tends to be non-linear at higher intensities. Also a strong non-linear relationship was found between different quartiles of storm and soil loss. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in total runoff, soil loss and sediment concentration across four storm patterns (P<0.001) but no differences in the runoff coefficient. In particular, storms with increasing rainfall intensity yielded highest quantities of eroded sediments, total runoff and highest sediment concentrations followed by increasing then decreasing, decreasing then increasing and decreasing intensity, respectively.

Global achievements in soil and water conservation: The case of Conservation Agriculture

Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2014, Pages 5-13
A. Kassam | R. Derpsch | T. Friedrich

© 2014 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press In response to the dust bowls of the mid-thirties in the USA, soil and water conservation programmes involving reduced tillage were promoted to control land degradation, particularly soil erosion. The farming and land management practices that were considered to adequately address soil and water conservation objectives were based on no-till seeding and maintenance of soil mulch cover. This collection of practices led to what became known as conservation tillage, although no-till systems by definition avoid soil disturbance by no-till direct seeding, and maintain an organic mulch cover on the soil surface. This article is an overview of achievements in soil and water conservation on agricultural lands through the experience derived from the adoption and spread of Conservation Agriculture (CA) world-wide. CA is an agro-ecological approach to sustainable production intensification. It involves the application of three inter-linked principles that underpin agricultural production systems based on locally formulated practices: (i) permanent no or minimum mechanical soil disturbance, which in practice entails direct seeding through mulch into no-till soils; (ii) maintenance of soil cover with crop residues and green manure crops, particularly legumes; and (iii) diversified cropping system involving annuals and perennial in rotations, sequences and associations. In 2011, CA had spread over 125 million hectares (9% of the global cropped land) across all continents and most agro-ecologies, including small and large farms. In addition, there is a significant area of CA orchards in the Mediterranean countries. CA is now considered to be a practical agro-ecological approach to achieving sustainable agriculture intensification. It offers environmental, economic and social advantages that are not fully possible with tillage-based production systems, as well as improved productivity and resilience, and improved ecosystem services while minimizing the excessive use of agrochemicals, energy and heavy machinery. While there are challenges to the adoption of CA, there is also increasing interest from producers, the civil society, donors and private sector institutions to further promote and service the uptake and spread of CA globally.

The expansion of Brazilian agriculture: Soil erosion scenarios

Volume 1, Issue 3, December 2013, Pages 37-48
Gustavo H. Merten | Jean P.G. Minella

© 2013 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press During the next 10 years Brazil's agricultural area will expand to meet increased domestic and worldwide demand for food, fuel, and fiber. Present choices regarding land use will determine to what degree this expansion will have adverse effects that include soil erosion, reservoir siltation, water quality problems, loss of biodiversity and social conflict, especially around indigenous reservations. This paper presents an up-to-date inventory of soil erosion in Brazil caused by crop and livestock activities and provides estimates based on three different hypothetical land-use scenarios to accommodate the expansion of Brazilian agricultural activity by 2020: Scenario 1 – expansion of cropping into areas of natural vegetation, without adoption of conservation practices; Scenario 2 – expansion of cropping into areas of degraded pasture, without adoption of conservation practices; Scenario 3 – expansion of cropping into areas of degraded pasture, together with conservation practices in 100% of the expanded area. The worst-case scenario involves expansion of agriculture into areas of native vegetation in the Brazilian Savannah (Cerrado) and Brazilian rainforest (Amazon) biomes, and could increase total soil erosion in Brazil (currently about 800 million metric tons a year) by as much as 20%. In the best-case scenario, crop expansion under a conservation agriculture model would utilize currently degraded pasture, especially in the Savannah (circa 40 million hectares), reducing soil erosion in Brazil by around 20%. For this to occur, however, a national soil and water conservation policy needs to be implemented in Brazil to support a sustainable model of agriculture in which the environment can be preserved as much as possible.

Sustainability issues on rice–wheat cropping system

Volume 4, Issue 1, March 2016, Pages 64-74
Rajan Bhatt | Rajan Bhatt | Surinder S. Kukal | Mutiu A. Busari | Sanjay Arora | Mathura Yadav

© 2015 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Rice–wheat cropping system (RWCS) of the South Asia is labour-, water-, capital- and energy-intensive, and become less profitable as the availability of these resources diminished. This could be further aggravated with deterioration of soil structure, declining underground water and lesser land and water productivity which ultimately are threat in front of sustainable and profitable RWCS in the region. For improving the profits, production and sustainability of this sequence - a paradigm shift is required. Scientists recommended different resource-conserving technologies (RCTs) viz. zero tillage, laser levelling, irrigation based on soil matric potential, bed planting, direct seeding, mechanical transplanting of rice and crop diversification for this purpose. These technologies are site specific and before selecting any particular RCT for a particular region, soil texture and agro-climatic conditions must be considered. A solitary approach/RCT might not be effective to solve the upcoming issue of producing more food grains with inadequate available water and land. Therefore, an integrated approach is required. But before implementing any approach, different issues relating to RWCS must be discovered, considered and addressed in a holistic manner. In this review, an attempt was made to highlight different issues resulted from the practise of intensive rice–wheat cropping sequence of the region, which must be considered while framing and implementing any integrated approach/project such as conservation agriculture for improving the productions, profits and sustainability of RWCS in the region.

The Transformation of Agriculture in Brazil Through Development and Adoption of Zero Tillage Conservation Agriculture

Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2014, Pages 35-46
P. L. de Freitas | J. N. Landers

© 2014 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press The soil conservation movement in Brazil has been a major driving force in the continuing search for agricultural farming systems that are more sustainable than what we have today, particularly in tropical and subtropical areas. The development and adoption of Zero Tillage Conservation Agriculture (ZT/CA) was the key to the success of this movement, generating agricultural, environmental, and societal benefits. Adoption of the ZT/CA philosophy and technologies is currently practiced on more than 50% of the annual crop area. This is due to the work and innovations of pioneering farmers, agronomists, researchers, and consultants that were and are involved in these efforts. This extensive adoption of ZT/CA occurred after many unsuccessful efforts to mitigate against the devastating effects of soil erosion that were threatening the entire agricultural industry in Brazil. Technicians and farmers realized that erosion control required continual cover of the soil to guard against the torrential rain storms common to these regions. This triggered the efforts of soil conservation pioneers at different points in time and regions of Brazil. In southern Brazil, Herbert Bartz, watched his topsoil eroding away in torrents of runoff. This set him thinking and searching for alternatives, resulting in his adoption of ZT/CA farming in 1972. Ten years later in Brazil's centre-western savannah (Cerrado biome), farmers, researchers, crop consultants and agro-industry initiated efforts to expand cultivation into the very difficult production region of the Cerrados. This was successfully achieved through the pioneering work of agronomist John Landers, bringing experience from the ZT/CA farmer association networks in the south. These were the turning points in the sustainable development of annual crop farming in Brazil. Today, society recognizes the role of these pioneers as key to achieving social, economic and environmental sustainability. ZT/CA reversed the historically accelerating degradation of soil organic matter and soil structure by abandoning conventional tillage, thus improving soil physical and chemical characteristics. This was achieved by promoting cover cropping and permanent soil cover with crop residues, crop rotations, and complementary, environmentally suitable soil management technologies.

Natural and anthropogenic rates of soil erosion

Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2017, Pages 77-84
Mark A. Nearing | Yun Xie | Baoyuan Liu | Baoyuan Liu | Yu Ye

© 2017 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Regions of land that are brought into crop production from native vegetation typically undergo a period of soil erosion instability, and long term erosion rates are greater than for natural lands as long as the land continues being used for crop production. Average rates of soil erosion under natural, non-cropped conditions have been documented to be less than 2 Mg ha−1 yr−1. On-site rates of erosion of lands under cultivation over large cropland areas, such as in the United States, have been documented to be on the order of 6 Mg ha−1 yr−1 or more. In northeastern China, lands that were brought into production during the last century are thought to have average rates of erosion over this large area of as much as 15 Mg ha−1 yr−1 or more. Broadly applied soil conservation practices, and in particular conservation tillage and no-till cropping, have been found to be effective in reducing rates of erosion, as was seen in the United States when the average rates of erosion on cropped lands decreased from on the order of 9 Mg ha−1 yr−1 to 6 or 7 Mg ha−1 yr−1 between 1982 and 2002, coincident with the widespread adoption of new conservation tillage and residue management practices. Taking cropped lands out of production and restoring them to perennial plant cover, as was done in areas of the United States under the Conservation Reserve Program, is thought to reduce average erosion rates to approximately 1 Mg ha−1 yr−1 or less on those lands.

Soil conservation and ecosystem services

Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2014, Pages 36-47
Rattan Lal

© 2014 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press Accelerated soil erosion, driven by anthropogenic activities such as conversion of natural ecosystems to agroecosystems and mechanical tillage, has numerous adverse impacts on ecosystem services. In addition to degrading soil quality and reducing agronomic/biomass productivity on-site through a decrease in use-efficiency of inputs, off-site impacts of accelerated erosion include eutrophication and contamination, sedimentation of reservoirs and waterways, and emissions of greenhouse gases (e.g., CO2, CH4 and N2O). While advancing food and nutritional security, adoption of restorative land use and recommended management practices are important to strengthening numerous ecosystem services such as improving water quality and renewability, increasing below and above-ground biodiversity, enhancing soil resilience to climate change and extreme events, and mitigating climate change by sequestering C in soil and reducing the emission of CO2, CH4 and N2O. An effective control of accelerated erosion is essential to sustainable development and improving the environment.

Soil and Land Resources for Agricultural Production: General Trends and Future Scenarios-A Worldwide Perspective

Volume 1, Issue 3, December 2013, Pages 1-14
Winfried E.H. Blum

© 2013 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press Based on the global distribution of land and soil quality and the world population, future trends in the agricultural use of land and soil resources are described, which will severely compromise future global food and fiber production through the increase and the spatial changes of world population, through the loss of fertile land caused by insufficient soil management and through urbanisation and industrialization Moreover, future changes in life style and the increasing demand for food and bioenergy, trough changes in world economy, through climate change and a worldwide decrease in fresh water supply, sustainable land use for the production of food and fiber will be under threat. Until 2050 global food production must be doubled for satisfying global needs. Our scenarios should help to preview future changes, to counterbalance and to mitigate possible negative impacts, thus sustaining global food security.

Identification of suitable sites for rainwater harvesting structures in arid and semi-arid regions: A review

Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2016, Pages 108-120
Adham Ammar | Adham Ammar | Michel Riksen | Mohamed Ouessar | Coen Ritsema

© 2016 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Harvested rainwater is an alternative source of water in arid and semi-arid regions (ASARs) around the world. Many researchers have developed and applied various methodologies and criteria to identify suitable sites and techniques for rainwater harvesting (RWH). Determining the best method or guidelines for site selection, however, is difficult. The main objective of this study was to define a general method for selecting suitable RWH sites in ASARs by assembling an inventory of the main methods and criteria developed during the last three decades. We categorised and compared four main methodologies of site selection from 48 studies published in scientific journals, reports of international organisations, or sources of information obtained from practitioners. We then identified three main sets of criteria for selecting RWH locations and the main characteristics of the most common RWH techniques used in ASARs. The methods were diverse, ranging from those based only on biophysical criteria to more integrated approaches including socio-economic criteria, especially after 2000. The most important criteria for the selection of suitable sites for RWH were slope, land use/cover, soil type, rainfall, distance to settlements/streams, and cost. The success rate of RWH projects tended to increase when these criteria were considered, but an objective evaluation of these selection methods is still lacking. Most studies now select RHW sites using geographic information systems in combination with hydrological models and multi-criteria analysis.

The development and adoption of conservation tillage systems on the Canadian Prairies

Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2014, Pages 47-65
L. Awada | C. W. Lindwall | B. Sonntag

© 2014 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press One of the major agricultural innovations on the Canadian Prairies over the last 40 years has been the introduction of conservation tillage (CT). Conservation tillage-a system that includes minimum and zero tillage (ZT) -was introduced as an alternative to traditional (conventional) tillage (TT) to control soil degradation and to promote agricultural sustainability. The development and adoption of CT systems involved pioneer farmers, engineers, scientists, and farmer associations. By the end of the 1970s, CT started to take shape on the Prairies, but for a number of economic, technical, political and social reasons, the adoption of CT did not occur on any major scale before the 1990s. Today, more than 75% of the Prairie's cropland is under some form of CT with more than 50% under ZT. In this paper, the factors behind the development and adoption of conservation tillage technology on the Prairies in the period between 1930 and 2011 are reviewed. Then, some of the benefits of the adoption of CT on the Prairies are highlighted. The data show that CT and ZT became profitable for the majority of farmers during and after the 1990s, and that the increased use of CT contributed to the dramatic decrease in the area under summerfallow and to the increase in the area sown to canola and pulse crops. These changes contributed to the reduction of all forms of land degradation and to decreases in agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Aeolian desertification and its control in Northern China

Volume 2, Issue 4, December 2014, Pages 34-41
Wang Tao

© 2014 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press Aeolian desertification is a kind of land degradation through wind erosion resulted from the excessive human activities in arid, semiarid and part of sub-humid regions in Northern China. To compare the results of remote sensing data in the late 1950s, 1975, 1987, 2000 and 2010, we can summarize that the expansion of aeolian desertified land in Northern China has been accelerated for 5 decades, as its annual expanded rate was 1,560 km2 during the late 1950s and 1975, 2,100 km2 between 1975 and 1988, 3,600 km2 from 1988 to 2000, and -1,375 km2 from 2000 to 2010. The desertified land kept expanding before 2000 and began to get rehabilitated since 2000. The impact of human activity on the aeolian desertification process is much more active than that from natural process which mainly incarnates on land use change (from rangeland to farmland) and increased land use intensity (over-cultivation, over-grassing, and over-fuelwood collection). The natural vegetation cover destroyed by the human activities has accelerated the development of aeolian desertification. China has made great progresses in understanding and combating aeolian desertification through decades of effort and there were many projects carried out for the prevention and control purpose. The National Project of Grain for Green Program is the most important one with 1060 counties of 22 provinces involved. The objective is to withdraw 3.67 million ha of dry land farming and degraded steppe, and 5.13 million ha of aeolian desertified land suited to reforestation and re-vegetation will be rehabilitated. There are about 8 million ha of lands suffering from aeolian desertification will be brought under control in the next ten years and 26.67 million ha of windbreaks will be planted. The total investment from the central government is estimated to be 75 billion RMB (11 billion USD).

Conservation agriculture in India – Problems, prospects and policy issues

Volume 2, Issue 4, December 2014, Pages 1-12
Suraj Bhan | U. K. Behera

© 2014 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press Conservation agriculture (CA) technologies involve minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover through crop residues or cover crops, and crop rotations for achieving higher productivity. In India, efforts to develop, refine and disseminate conservation-based agricultural technologies have been underway for nearly two decades and made significant progress since then even though there are several constraints that affect adoption of CA. Particularly, tremendous efforts have been made on no-till in wheat under a rice-wheat rotation in the Indo-Gangetic plains. There are more payoffs than tradeoffs for adoption of CA but the equilibrium among the two was understood by both adopters and promoters. The technologies of CA provide opportunities to reduce the cost of production, save water and nutrients, increase yields, increase crop diversification, improve efficient use of resources, and benefit the environment. However, there are still constraints for promotion of CA technologies, such as lack of appropriate seeders especially for small and medium scale farmers, competition of crop residues between CA use and livestock feeding, burning of crop residues, availability of skilled and scientific manpower and overcoming the bias or mindset about tillage. The need to develop the policy frame and strategies is urgent to promote CA in the region. This article reviews the emerging concerns due to continuous adoption of conventional agriculture systems, and analyses the constraints, prospects, policy issues and research needs for conservation agriculture in India.

Conservation agriculture impact for soil conservation in maize–wheat cropping system in the Indian sub-Himalayas

Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2015, Pages 112-118
B. N. Ghosh | Pradeep Dogra | N. K. Sharma | Ranjan Bhattacharyya | P. K. Mishra

© 2015 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Conservation agriculture (CA) is considered as a suitable technique for soil erosion control, productivity enhancement, and improved economic benefits. To investigate these issues, an experiment was conducted under rainfed conditions using grass vegetation strip (VS) with minimum tillage, organic amendments and weed mulch during June 2007–October 2011 at Dehradun, Uttarakhand in the Indian Himalayan region. Results showed that the mean wheat equivalent yield was ~47% higher in the plots under with CA compared with conventional agriculture in a maize–wheat crop rotation. Mean runoff coefficients and soil loss with CA plots were ~45% less and ~54% less than conventional agriculture plots. On average, after the harvest of maize, soil moisture conservation up to 90 cm soil depth for wheat crop was 108% higher under CA than conventional agriculture plots. The net return from the plots with CA was 85% higher, and when expressed net return per tonne of soil loss, it was four and half times higher than conventional practice. Results demonstrate that the suitable CA practice (a grass strip of Palmarosa with applied organic amendments (farmyard manure, vermicompost and poultry manure) along with weed mulching under conservation tillage) enhances system productivity, reduces runoff, soil loss and conserve soil moisture.

Assessment of spatial and seasonal water quality variation of Oum Er Rbia River (Morocco) using multivariate statistical techniques

Volume 4, Issue 4, December 2016, Pages 284-292
Ahmed Barakat | Mohamed El Baghdadi | Jamila Rais | Brahim Aghezzaf | Mohamed Slassi

© 2016 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press The aim of this study is to assess the spatial and temporal water quality variation and to determine the main contamination sources in the Oum Er Rbia River and its main tributary, El Abid River. The water quality data were collected during 2000–2012 from fourteen sampling stations distributed along the river. The water quality indicators used were TEMP, pH, EC, turbidity, TSS, DO, NH4+, NH3–, TP, BOD5, COD and F. coli. The water quality data was analyzed using multivariate statistical methods including Pearson's correlation, PCA, and CA. The results showed that in some stations the water quality parameters were over Moroccan water standards. PCA applied to compare the compositional patterns among the analyzed water samples, identified and four factors accounting for almost 63% of the total variation in the data. This suggests that the variations in water compounds’ concentration are mainly related to point source contamination (domestic and industrial wastewater), non-point source contamination (agriculture activities), as well as natural processes (weathering of soil and rock). CA showed relatively spatial and seasonal changes in surface water quality, which are usually indicators of contamination with rainfalls or other sources. Overall, this study showed that the water was potentially hazardous to health of the consumers and highlighted the need to treat industrial and municipal wastewater and to encourage sustainable agricultural practices to prevent adverse health effects. We therefore suggest wise management of anthropogenic activities in the catchment of Oum Er Bia River and their tributaries.

Conservation Agriculture in Europe

Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2014, Pages 91-96
Kertész | B. Madarász

© 2014 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press The adoption of Conservation Agriculture (CA) in Europe varies according to the ecological regions of the continent. Although Europe is behind other countries in adoption of CA, the indicators for future progress are encouraging. The area where CA is applied is growing rapidly because of increasing environmental awareness, including soil protection, and because of the need to reduce production costs. The European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF) plays an important role in the adoption and dissemination of CA practices, and in discussions involving CA and the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. Yield performance and stability, operating costs, environmental policies and programs of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and climate change will likely be the major driving forces defining the direction and for the extension of CA in Europe. The role of agriculture in climate change mitigation in the EU is discussed in the paper.

Making rainfed agriculture sustainable through environmental friendly technologies in Pakistan: A review

Volume 1, Issue 2, September 2013, Pages 36-52
Mirza B. Baig | Shabbir A. Shahid | Gary S. Straquadine

© 2013 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press Pakistan is an agricultural country spreading over an area of about 79. 6 million hectares (Mha) with an arid and semi arid climate. Of 79. 6 Mha, about 23 Mha is suitable for crop production and nearly 25 percent of the total cultivated area is designated for rainfed agriculture. Unfortunately, rain-fed agriculture is constrained with multifarious problems such as moisture stress, soil erosion and crusting, nutrient deficiency, depletion and poor nutrient use efficiency, and weed infestation limiting the yield potential of these lands. In addition, deforestation and poor crop husbandry techniques are commonly noticed features. To meet the food requirements, farmers bring all the available pieces of lands under plough including steep slopes. Farming on steep slopes if not managed on scientific lines, results in severe erosion. The problems faced by the farmers are due to the unsustainable practices they adopt to practice dryland agriculture, limiting the productive potential of these important ecosystems. However, their potential can be improved by adopting suitable rainwater harvesting techniques; employing scientific soil and water conservation methods and using sustainable agricultural practices. This paper highlights some important issues associated with the rainfed agriculture of Pakistan. Working strategies for realizing optimum and sustainable yields have been outlined while conserving both land and water resources.

Acid leaching of heavy metals from contaminated soil collected from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: kinetic and thermodynamics studies

Volume 3, Issue 3, September 2015, Pages 196-208
Shorouq I. Alghanmi | Shorouq I. Alghanmi | Amani F. Al Sulami | Tahani A. El-Zayat | Tahani A. El-Zayat | Basma G. Alhogbi | Mohamed Abdel Salam

© 2015 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Urban soils polluted with heavy metals are of increasing concern because it is greatly affecting human health and the ecological systems. Hence, it is mandatory to understand the reasons behind this pollution and remediate the contaminated solid. The removal of heavy metals from contaminated soil samples collected from the vicinity of the sewage lake in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was explored. The leaching process was studied kinetically and thermodynamically for better understanding of the remediation process. The results showed that the soil samples were slightly basic in nature, and tend to be more neutral away from the main contaminated sewage lake area. The total metal content in the soil samples was measured using the aqua regia extractions by ICP-OES and the results showed that many of the heavy metals present have significant concentrations above the tolerable limits. In general, the metal concentrations at different sites indicated that the heavy metal pollution is mainly due to the sewage discharge to the lake. The results showed excellent correlation between the concentrations of Co, As, and Hg with the distance from the main contaminated area. The leaching of Co, As, and Hg using 1.0 M hydrochloric acid from the soil was studied kinetically at different temperatures and the experimental results were fitted using different kinetics models. The experimental data were best described with two-constant rate and Elovich equation kinetic models. Also, the thermodynamic study showed that the leaching process was spontaneous, endothermic and accompanied with increase in the entropy. In general, the polluted soil could be remediated successfully from the heavy metals using the acid leaching procedure in a short period of time.

Sustainable food production in marginal lands—Case of GDLA member countries

Volume 1, Issue 1, June 2013, Pages 24-38
Shabbir A. Shahid | Abdullah Al-Shankiti

© 2013 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press Sustainable food production in the changing climate and dwindling water resources in the Global Dry Land Alliance (GDLA) member countries is a real challenge, especially when considering marginal lands in dryland systems. The definition of marginal land is very vague and defined from different perspectives (pragmatism about marginal lands). Dryland itself indicates “marginality” due to water stress. In general, the abandoned agriculture land where food production is not economical, and has low inherent productivity potential is considered marginal; however, a land may be marginal for agriculture but vital for grazing. In this paper attempts have been made to give review of literature (water stress, extent of marginal saline lands, marginality). Policy matters (development of soil, water and agriculture strategies) that GDLA and member countries should consider for future sustainable food production in their countries, including but not limited to, assessment of land resources for agriculture potential, defining, mapping and characterizing marginal lands, and use of innovative technologies (conservation agriculture, climate smart agriculture, integrated soil reclamation program and capacity building) for food production, are discussed. The international perception (FAO, UNEP, CGIAR) on marginal lands is also described. An innovative approach of using national biocapacity and ecological footprint is used to assess marginality of GDLA member countries. Ecological overshoot (using 1.5 earth planets) and biocapacity debtor and creditor countries are highlighted. Challenges and best management practices for food production in marginal lands are included. Other important issues, like leasing land abroad, GDLA strategic food reserves and best management practices, innovative ideas for food production are shared. Finally recommendations are drafted for actions by GDLA, its member countries and the partners.

Land use and land cover changes and Soil erosion in Yezat Watershed, North Western Ethiopia

Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2017, Pages 85-94
Lemlem Tadesse | K. V. Suryabhagavan | G. Sridhar | Gizachew Legesse

© 2017 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Soil erosion affects land qualities and water resources. This problem is severe in Ethiopia due to its topographic features. The present research was aimed to estimate spatiotemporal changes in land-use/land-cover pattern and soil erosion in the Yezat watershed in Ethiopia. This study was carried out by using landsat imageries of 2001, 2010 and 2015. Images were classified into categories using supervised classification by maximum likelihood algorithm. They were also classified into different biomass levels by using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) analysis. Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation modeling was applied in a GIS environment to quantify the potential soil erosion risk. The area under grassland, woodland and homesteads have increased by 610.69 (4%), 101.69 (0.67%) and 126.6 ha (0.83%) during 2001–2015. The extent of cultivated land and shrub/bushland was reduced by 323.43(0.02%) and 515.44 ha (3.41%), respectively, during the same period. The vegetation cover in the watershed decreased by 91% during 2001–2010, and increased by 88% during 2010–2015. Increase of NDVI values indicates better ground cover due to implementation of integrated watershed development program in the region. The estimated annual soil losses were 7.2 t ha−1 yr−1 in 2001, 7.7 t  ha−1 yr−1in 2010 and 4.8 t ha−1 yr−1in 2015. Management interventions are necessary to improve the status and utilization of watershed resources in response to sustainable land management practices for sustainable livelihood of the local people.

The centrality of water resources to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). A review of potentials and constraints on the African continent

Volume 4, Issue 3, September 2016, Pages 215-223
Frank Mugagga | Benon B. Nabaasa

© 2016 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water and Power Press Africa is endowed with vast water resources including but not limited to lakes, rivers, swamps and underground aquifers. However, the way of life in Africa does not reflect this kind of wealth owing majorly to degradation and underutilization of these water resources. This review discusses the centrality of water resources in Africa's pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Following the Sustainable Development Model, the paper thematically examines and synthesizes the importance and potentials of water resources to Africa's development through exploring their contributions and limitations to the various economic sectors namely; agricultural and livestock production, energy, manufacturing and processing, tourism, health, fisheries, trade and other institutional mechanisms such as payment for ecosystem services (PES), mutual cooperation and economic cooperation. Data were collected by review of online peer-reviewed and grey literature published between the year 2000 and 2015. It is observed that sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6) will be central to the attainment of all the other SDGs (particularly SDG 1 (No poverty), 2 (No hunger), 3 (Good health), 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land)) across Africa. African states should therefore increase their commitment to water conservation and management as this will significantly decide Africa's future development paths.

The development of U. S. soil erosion prediction and modeling

Volume 1, Issue 2, September 2013, Pages 1-11
John M. Laflen | Dennis C. Flanagan

© 2013 International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation and China Water & Power Press Soil erosion prediction technology began over 70 years ago when Austin Zingg published a relationship between soil erosion (by water) and land slope and length, followed shortly by a relationship by Dwight Smith that expanded this equation to include conservation practices. But, it was nearly 20 years before this work's expansion resulted in the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), perhaps the foremost achievement in soil erosion prediction in the last century. The USLE has increased in application and complexity, and its usefulness and limitations have led to the development of additional technologies and new science in soil erosion research and prediction. Main among these new technologies is the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model, which has helped to overcome many of the shortcomings of the USLE, and increased the scale over which erosion by water can be predicted. Areas of application of erosion prediction include almost all land types: urban, rural, cropland, forests, rangeland, and construction sites. Specialty applications of WEPP include prediction of radioactive material movement with soils at a superfund cleanup site, and near real-time daily estimation of soil erosion for the entire state of Iowa.

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