Annually, millions of hectares of land are affected by wildfires worldwide, disrupting ecosystems functioning by affecting on-site vegetation, soil, and above-and belowground biodiversity, but also triggering erosive off-site impacts such as water-bodies contamination or mudflows. Here, we present a soil erosion assessment following the 2017's wildfires at the European scale, including an analysis of vegetation recovery and soil erosion mitigation potential. Results indicate a sharp increase in soil losses with 19.4 million Mg additional erosion in the first post-fire year when compared to unburned conditions. Over five years, 44 million Mg additional soil losses were estimated, and 46% of the burned area presented no signs of full recovery. Post-fire mitigation could attenuate these impacts by 63-77%, reducing soil erosion to background levels by the 4th post-fire year. Our insights may help identifying target policies to reduce land degradation, as identified in the European Union Soil, Forest, and Biodiversity strategies.

Vieira, D.C.S., Borrelli, P., Jahanianfard, D., Benali, A., Scarpa, S., Panagos, P. (2023). Wildfires in Europe: Burned soils require attention. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, 217 [10.1016/j.envres.2022.114936].

Wildfires in Europe: Burned soils require attention

Borrelli P.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Annually, millions of hectares of land are affected by wildfires worldwide, disrupting ecosystems functioning by affecting on-site vegetation, soil, and above-and belowground biodiversity, but also triggering erosive off-site impacts such as water-bodies contamination or mudflows. Here, we present a soil erosion assessment following the 2017's wildfires at the European scale, including an analysis of vegetation recovery and soil erosion mitigation potential. Results indicate a sharp increase in soil losses with 19.4 million Mg additional erosion in the first post-fire year when compared to unburned conditions. Over five years, 44 million Mg additional soil losses were estimated, and 46% of the burned area presented no signs of full recovery. Post-fire mitigation could attenuate these impacts by 63-77%, reducing soil erosion to background levels by the 4th post-fire year. Our insights may help identifying target policies to reduce land degradation, as identified in the European Union Soil, Forest, and Biodiversity strategies.
2023
Vieira, D.C.S., Borrelli, P., Jahanianfard, D., Benali, A., Scarpa, S., Panagos, P. (2023). Wildfires in Europe: Burned soils require attention. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, 217 [10.1016/j.envres.2022.114936].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/469709
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