Eco-hydrological response of soils in abandoned fields

José-Damián Ruiz Sinoga, Juan Francisco Martínez Murillo


The process of field abandonment in marginal areas by the entry of agricultural activity, and of the “agricultural natural economy” crisis, has been a real change of land use on a large scale. The effects of the abandonment of the field about the quality of the land vary widely, depending on weather conditions and the state of soils, highly variable from the spatio-temporal standpoint. Thus, soils under favourable climatic conditions, with vegetation cover, can regenerate over time by the accumulation of organic material and increase their biological activity and fauna, improving its structure, increasing infiltration of water and, therefore, decreasing the potential water erosion. The purpose of this work was to characterize the vegetation pattern of several abandoned fields for more than 50 years, located in the internal Bethics mountain ranges on lithology of metamorphic reliefs, as well as the hydrological response from their soils by tracking spatio-temporal of the soil moisture and the application of simulated rain, with special emphasis on the effect caused by their surface conditions. The results have shown as surface conditions from their soils are indicating different stages in the evolution of these after the abandonment of agricultural activity: the fields with more abundant rains have struck a balance between their conditions climatic, topographical and erosive, while those who are in most semi-arid conditions still are at an earlier stage where water erosion can present a high activity during rare rain events.


Field abandonment; resilience; soil degradation; soil hydrology; water erosion


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Copyright (c) 2013 José-Damián Ruiz Sinoga, Juan Francisco Martínez Murillo

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