Afforestation of gullies in arid regions, intensification of internal ecological functionality until rehabilitation of the whole area. Attir basin, the Northern Negev, Israel

Amir Mor-Mussery, Michael Ben-Eli, Stefan Leu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gully erosion is a worldwide phenomenon expressed by a wide range of incised landforms tightly correlated. The commonly used solution in the northern Negev is based on damming the gully with perpendicular check dams. Nevertheless, in most cases, after a few years, a wide part of the check dams collapses, and the confined area between them suffers from an enhanced incision and massive reduction in soil fertility and vegetation productivity. The study hypothesized that only intensifying the functionality of the gully ecosystem will lead to the rehabilitation of the whole area, while the objectives were to determine the influence of a wide range of parameters on the ecosystem functioning of the gully terrace, including check dams, afforestation, modulation of the confined area between the dams (termed: 'Gully terrace') and land management regimes. The finding indicates that first and foremost, the afforestation of the gully terrace led to an increased inorganic and organic material flows accompanied by vegetation expansion between the gully terrace landforms and harvester ants' activity intensification, resulting in a yearly net increase of herbaceous biomass that is ranged between 155 and 215%, due to the dependency in the gully terrace modulation, gully terraces' architecture and the land management regime. This intensification led to increased productivity of two to fivefold in the neighboured area compare to the unaffected area. The principles of this study may be used for the rehabilitation of gullied drylands worldwide and reclamation of damaged ones worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106146
JournalCatena
Volume213
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Agriculture in loess area
  • Check dams cluster
  • Intensification of ecological functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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