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University of Adelaide (2020)

Soil erosion modelling as a tool for future land management and conservation planning

Jeanneau, Amelie

Titre : Soil erosion modelling as a tool for future land management and conservation planning

Auteur : Jeanneau, Amelie

Université de soutenance : University of Adelaide

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2020

Résumé partiel
Maintaining future agricultural productivity and ensuring soil security is of global concern and requires evidence-based management practices. Moreover, understanding where and when land is at risk of erosion is a fundamental step to combatting future soil loss and reach Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). However, this is a difficult task because of the high spatial and temporal variability of the controlling factors involved. Therefore, tools investigating the impact and frequency of extreme erosive events are crucial for land managers and policymakers to apply corrective measures for better erosion management in the future. While the utility of using wind and water erosion models for management is well established, there is a paucity of work on the impact of climate change and extreme environmental conditions (e.g. wildfires) on soil erosion by wind and water simultaneously. Both erosion types are controlled by different environmental variable that vary highly in space and time. Therefore, the overarching aim of this study was to develop a joint wind-water erosion modelling method and demonstrate the utility of this approach to identify (1) the spatio-temporal variability of extreme erosion events in the South Australian agricultural zone (Australia) and (2) assess the likely increase of this variability in the face of climate change and the recurrence of wildfires. To fulfil the aim of the research project, we adapted two state-of-the-art wind and water (hillslope) erosion models to integrate modern high-resolution datasets for spatial and temporal analysis of erosion. The adaptation of these models to local conditions and the use of high-resolution datasets was essential to ensure reliable erosion assessment. First, we applied these models separately in the Eyre Peninsula and Mid-North agricultural regions. We evaluated the spatio-temporal variability of extreme erosion events between 2001 and 2017 and described the complex interactions between each erosional process and their influencing factors (e.g. soil types, climate conditions, and vegetation cover). Hillslope erosion was very low for most of the Eyre Peninsula ; however, a large proportion of the central Mid-North region frequently recorded severe erosion (> 0.022 t ha-1) two to three months per year, for most of the years in the time-series

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