Zucca, Claudio and Canu, Annalisa and Previtali, Franco (2010) Soil degradation by land use change in an agropastoral area in Sardinia (Italy). Catena, Vol. 83 (1), p. 46-54. ISSN 0341-8162. Article.
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In recent decades the clearing of Mediterranean maquis along with the creation of new pastures has been a major factor of land degradation in Sardinia (Italy). This was due to an inadequate implementation of agricultural policies. Consequently, tillage and water erosion intensified over a wide area. The present work assesses the impacts of land use change on soil properties in a representative area of central-eastern Sardinia. Paired forest and pasture sampling sites were selected in relation to present land use, land suitability, and land use history. Different soil properties were considered: physical (sand, silt, clay, soil thickness, bulk density, and penetration resistance), chemical (pH, OC, N, C/N, Ca, Mg, Na, K, CEC, and BS), biological (BQI), and micromorphological (microporosity and microstructure). The comparison of forest and pasture soils showed a significant soil loss (in terms of soil thickness, −22%), and a clear decrease in organic carbon storage (−64% on average). An increase in bulk density (+ 44%) and a change in microporosity and its vertical distribution were also observed, respectively by field measurements and micromorphological quantification on digital images.
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