Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-2
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-2
25 Jan 2021
 | 25 Jan 2021
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal SOIL but the revision was not accepted.

Deforestation effects on soil erosion rates and soil physicochemical properties in Iran: a case study of using fallout radionuclides in a Chernobyl contaminated area

Maral Khodadadi, Christine Alewell, Mohammad Mirzaei, Ehssan Ehssan-Malahat, Farrokh Asadzadeh, Peter Strauss, and Katrin Meusburger

Abstract. Deforestation for farming and grazing purposes has become a global challenge. To study the impact of deforestation on soil erosion rates and soil physicochemical properties, Zarivar Lake watershed, Kurdestan Province, Iran, was selected. Converting the steep hillslopes naturally under oak forest to rainfed vineyards has been one of the most common land-use changes in the area. We used 137Cs and 210Pbex radionuclides and quantified the Chernobyl-derived 137Cs fallout with 239+240Pu. The soil samples were collected from two adjacent and similar hillslopes, one of which is under natural forest, while the other is under rainfed vineyard. Using 137Cs/239+240Pu rates and a simple unmixing of the 137Cs sources indicated that 50.2 ± 10.0 % of 137Cs was Chernobyl-derived. The mean reference inventory values of 137Cs, 210Pbex, and 239+240Pu were estimated to be at 6152 ± 1266, 6079 ± 1511, and 135 ± 31 Bq m−2, respectively. At the forested hillslope, net soil erosion rates based on 137Cs, and 210Pbex, techniques were estimated to be at 5.0 and 5.9 Mg ha−1 yr−1, respectively, resulting in Sediment Delivery Ratios (SDRs) of 96 and 70 %. However, at the vineyard hillslope, the net soil redistribution rates were at 25.9 and 32.5 Mg ha−1 yr−1 for 137Cs and 210Pbex, respectively, resulting in respective SDRs of around 95 and 92 %. Both 137Cs and 210Pbex indicated that as a result of deforestation, soil erosion has increased by approximately five times. Percolation Stabilities (PS) in forest and vineyard topsoil are about 309 and 160 gr H2O 600 s−1 classified as rapid and moderate PSs, respectively. Rapid PS in forest soil implies high aggregate stability, whereas moderate PS in vineyard soils indicates that they are generally weakly-structured. All in all, the results of the present study revealed that deforestation and converting natural vegetation to cropland prompted soil loss and deteriorated physicochemical properties of the soil.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Maral Khodadadi, Christine Alewell, Mohammad Mirzaei, Ehssan Ehssan-Malahat, Farrokh Asadzadeh, Peter Strauss, and Katrin Meusburger

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on soil-2021-2', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Feb 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Maral Khodadadi, 05 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on soil-2021-2', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Feb 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Maral Khodadadi, 05 Apr 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on soil-2021-2', Anonymous Referee #3, 23 Mar 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Maral Khodadadi, 05 Apr 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on soil-2021-2', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Feb 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Maral Khodadadi, 05 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on soil-2021-2', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Feb 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Maral Khodadadi, 05 Apr 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on soil-2021-2', Anonymous Referee #3, 23 Mar 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Maral Khodadadi, 05 Apr 2021
Maral Khodadadi, Christine Alewell, Mohammad Mirzaei, Ehssan Ehssan-Malahat, Farrokh Asadzadeh, Peter Strauss, and Katrin Meusburger
Maral Khodadadi, Christine Alewell, Mohammad Mirzaei, Ehssan Ehssan-Malahat, Farrokh Asadzadeh, Peter Strauss, and Katrin Meusburger

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Short summary
Forest soils store carbon and therefore play an important role in mitigating climate change impacts. Yet again, deforestation for farming and grazing purposes has grown rapidly over the last decades. Thus, its impacts on soil erosion and soil quality should be understood in order to adopt sustainable management measures. The results of this study indicated that deforestation can prompt soil loss by multiple orders of magnitude and deteriorate the soil quality in both topsoil and subsoil.