As a result of the RECONDES Project, a set of practical guidelines have been compiled, based on detailed studies of vegetation and its positive effects on soil sealing mitigation. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide information on how problems of soil erosion and land degradation may be controlled by the application of innovative vegetation strategies for soil recovering with existing soil conservation measures. These strategies specifically target those hotspot areas in the landscape where erosion is a problem at present, or which, if improperly managed, will become a significant problem in the future. The approach is different from other approaches in identifying hotspots and focuses on the application of appropriate vegetation species by data analysing related to these areas, whereas other approaches are applied across the entire landscape. These guidelines for dissemination of information are suitable to dry land environments of the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, and they are based on desert monitoring research in Southeast Spain.
Main suggested guidelines are:
- In reforested lands, microstructures which trap sediments and nutrients could be applied to the side banks and on terraces the needle litter layer removed to improve vegetation establishment.
- On abandoned lands, existing terraces should be maintained and failures repaired after erosion events. Dense rooted grasses should be planted on reformed banks and in areas of concentrated flow.
- Terraces that are not constructed on the contour should be corrected, and long terraces should be broken up, as these concentrate runoff and contribute to erosion problems downslope.
- Winter cover crops in access lanes could be established between trees, but cover should not exceed 50% of terrace. Cover crops should then be killed off at the end of the winter period.
- Plant vegetation cover along edges of tracks, particularly where these cross a drainage line or gradient changes
- so that the track begins to concentrate runoff.
- Where there are natural drainage lines crossing fields, grassed waterways should be established. Double drilling techniques should also be used when seeding these areas. Vegetation should be established on gully floors.
- In small channels, revegetation efforts should focus on planting grasses in areas where there are fine sediment inputs. Small structures may be built to promote deposition and improve conditions for vegetation establishment.
- In larger channels, efforts should focus on establishing larger shrubs and trees as these will have a greater effect in reducing flow velocities and trapping sediments, therefore reducing sediment connectivity to areas downstream.
Source: Combating Land Degradation by Minimal Intervention: The Connectivity Reduction Approach Written and Edited by the RECONDES Project Team