Impact of sheet erosion mechanisms on organic carbon losses from crusted soils in the Sahel.
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Ma?ga-Yaleu, S.B.; Chivenge, P.; Yacouba, H.; Guiguemde, I.; Karambiri, H.; Ribolzi, O.; Bary, A.; Chaplot, V. 2015. Impact of sheet erosion mechanisms on organic carbon losses from crusted soils in the Sahel. Catena 126, 60-67.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76708
Soil surface crusting influences water infiltration and runoff but its impact on soil organic carbon (SOC) losses by sheet erosion is largely unknown. Because there are different mechanisms of sheet erosion, from raindrop detachment and transport by raindrops interacting with flow (RIFT), to detachment and transport by flow, that require a certain slope length to be operative, this study examined the impact of slope length on SOC and nutrient losses. Field experiments were conducted on crusted soils in the Sahel region of Africa. Three replicates of micro-plots (1 m ? 1 m), plots (10 m long ? 5 m width) and long plots (25 m ? 6 m) were installed for each crust type in the area (structural, STRU; desiccation, DES; gravel, GRAV; and erosion, ERO) and followed for each rainfall event in the 2012 rainy season. Sediment, SOC content in sediments and selected nutrients (NO3?; PO43?) in the runoff were analyzed to evaluate the annual losses by sheet erosion. SOC losses decreased significantly with increasing slope length from 0.24 g C m ? 1 on micro-plots to 0.04 g C m? 1 on plots and to 0.01 g C m? 1 on long plots and similar trends were observed for NO3? and PO43? losses. This suggested a strong scale dependency of sheet erosion with the efficiency of transport by saltation and rolling by RIFT decreasing significantly with increasing slope length, by 6 folds in average between 1 and 10 m, with values between 1.8 on DES crusts and 19 on STRU crusts. These results on the relationship between soil crusting and sheet erosion should be further used to mitigate against the loss of SOC through the implementation of improved soil conservation techniques, as well as to improve soil erosion and/or SOC models.