The impact of soil erosion on soil fertility and vine vigor. A multidisciplinary approach based on field, laboratory and remote sensing approaches

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Soil erosion processes in vineyards, beyond surface runoff and sediment transport, have a strong effect on soil organic carbon (SOC) loss and redistribution along the slope. Variation in SOC across the landscape can determine differences in soil fertility and vine vigor. The goal of this research was to analyze the interactions among vines vigor, sediment delivery and SOC in a sloping vineyard located in Sicily. Six pedons were studied along the slope by digging 6 pits up to 60 cm depth. Soil was sampled every 10 cm and SOC, water extractable organic carbon (WEOC) and specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA) were analyzed. Erosion rates, detachment and deposition areas were measured by the pole height method which allowed mapping of the soil redistribution. The vigor of vegetation, expressed as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), derived from high-resolution satellite multispectral data, was compared with measured pruning weight. Results confirmed that soil erosion, sediment redistribution and SOC across the slope was strongly affected by topographic features, slope and curvature. The erosion rate was 16 Mg ha− 1 y− 1 since the time of planting (6 years). SOC redistribution was strongly correlated with the detachment or deposition areas as highlighted by pole height measurements. The off-farm SOC loss over six years amounted to 1.2 Mg C ha− 1. SUVA254 values, which indicate hydrophobic material rich in aromatic constituents of WEOC, decreased significantly along the slope, demonstrating that WEOC in the detachment site is more stable in comparison to deposition sites. The plant vigor was strongly correlated with WEOC constituents. Results demonstrated that high resolution passive remote sensing data combined with soil and plant analyses can survey areas with contrasting SOC, soil fertility, soil erosion and plant vigor. This will allow monitoring of soil erosion and degradation risk areas and support decision-makers in developing measures for friendly environmental management.




Novara, A., Pisciotta, A., Minacapilli, M., Maltese, A., Capodici, F., Cerdà, A., & Gristina, L. (2018). The impact of soil erosion on soil fertility and vine vigor. A multidisciplinary approach based on field, laboratory and remote sensing approaches. Science of the Total Environment, 622623, 474–480.

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