Effectiveness of polyacrylamide, wood shred mulch, and pine needle mulch as post-fire hillslope stabilization treatments in two contrasting volcanic soils

  • Neris J
  • Doerr S
  • Notario del Pino J
 et al. 
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© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Post-fire hillslope stabilization treatments aim to reduce runoff-erosion risks following forest fires by counteracting the impact of fire on key soil and hillslope properties. Here we evaluate the effectiveness of wood shred mulch, long-leaved pine needle mulch, and polyacrylamide (PAM) in reducing post-fire runoff and erosion in two volcanic soil types of contrasting wettability using rainfall simulations (55 mm h -1 for 30 min) at the microplot (0.25 m 2 ) scale. The cover provided by the wood shreds and pine needles led to a reduction of runoff and erosion in both the wettable-(62% and 92%, respectively, for wood shreds, and 55% and 87%, respectively, for needle mulch) and the extremely water-repellent soils (44% and 61%, respectively, for wood shreds). In contrast to what might be expected, PAM did not reduce runoff or erosion when applied to the extremely water-repellent soils, suggesting that PAM should not be applied in this terrain type. Although more research is needed to determine whether the high effectiveness of pine needle mulch and wood shred mulch fully translates to coarser scales, the results are encouraging in terms of these materials' ability to provide effective and relatively economic mitigation treatments for fire-induced runoff-erosion risks in volcanic soils.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Emergency treatments
  • Fire-induced risks
  • Forest fires
  • Forest recovery
  • Runoff-erosion processes
  • Volcanic soils
  • Water repellency

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  • Jonay Neris

  • Stefan H. Doerr

  • Jesús S. Notario del Pino

  • Carmen D. Arbelo

  • Antonio Rodríguez-Rodríguez

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