Tillage erosion: a review of controlling factors and implications for soil quality



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Oost, K. van and Govers, G. and Alba Alonso, Saturnino de and Quine, T.A. (2006) Tillage erosion: a review of controlling factors and implications for soil quality. Progress in physical geography, 30 (4). pp. 443-466. ISSN 0309-1333

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Official URL: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/journals/Journal201827


Tillage erosion has been identified as an important global soil degradation process that has
to be accounted for when assessing the erosional impacts on soil productivity, environmental quality
or landscape evolution. In this paper, we present a summary of available data describing tillage
erosion. This provides insights in the controlling factors determining soil redistribution rates and
patterns by tillage for various implements used in both mechanized and non-mechanized agriculture.
Variations in tillage depth and tillage direction cause the largest variations in soil redistribution rates,
although other factors, such as tillage speed and implement characteristics, also play an important
role. In general, decreasing tillage depth and ploughing along the contour lines substantially reduce
tillage erosion rates and can be considered as effective soil conservation strategies. Implement
erosivities reported in literature, characterized by the tillage transport coefficient, are very consistent
and range in the order of 400–800 kgm-¹1yr-¹1 and 70–260 kg m-¹1yr-¹1 for mechanized and nonmechanized
agriculture, respectively. Comparison of tillage erosion rates with water erosion rates
using a global data set indicates that tillage erosion rates are at least in the same order of magnitude
or higher than water erosion rates, in almost all cases. Finally, we discuss how tillage erosion increases
the spatial variability of soil properties and affects soil nutrient cycling. Considering the widespread
use of tillage practices, the high redistribution rates associated with the process and its direct effect
on soil properties, it is clear that tillage erosion should be considered in soil landscape studies.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Soil erosion, Soil quality, Tillage erosion, 137Cs.
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:25742
Deposited On:06 Jun 2014 09:53
Last Modified:09 Jun 2014 08:28

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