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Rangeland’s capacity to prevent soil erosion and water surface runoff increases with active restoration

Article | 22-06-2015

Over one billion people’s livelihoods depend on dry rangelands through livestock grazing and agriculture. These management activities can cause soil erosion, increase surface runoff and reduce water availability. In collaboration with Wageningen University, PBL reviewed different management regimes and their impact on rangeland ecosystems.

Quantitative analysis of the effects of different management regimes on soil erosion and surface runoff in rangelands

In our review we yielded key indicators for quantifying soil erosion and surface runoff and compared the values of these indicators between different management regimes. This resulted in quantitative mean values for soil loss and surface runoff.

Compared to ungrazed natural rangelands, both soil loss and surface runoff increase notably with increasing grazing intensity. For instance, mean values for annual soil loss in high intensity grazed rangeland were five time higher than in natural ungrazed rangelands; surface runoff was four times higher. Moreover, soil loss and surface runoff was reduced in abandoned and restoration rangelands. Altogether, these results suggest that potential soil erosion prevention and water flow regulation can be provided by reducing grazing intensity and active rangeland restoration.

Author(s)Alexander P.E. van Oudenhoven, Clara J. Veerkamp, Rob Alkemade, Rik Leemans
Publication date23-06-2015
PublicationJournal of Arid Environments
ReferenceVolume 121, pages 100-111